July 27, 2016
Mix the headlines, hashtags, and hurts with the heat of the summer and recently it seems that all of it might just boil over. I’ve listened and watched and scrolled and wondered if the whole world might be crashing down.
Take the current events and mix them with typical mom thoughts about kids and schedules and miss-the-mark dinners and that’s where you would have found me the other night. Standing at the kitchen sink rinsing off plates with leftover mashed potatoes and scraping off the remnants of my latest crab cake attempt.
Then it happened.
The sound of 20 bowling balls. Pop. Crack. Whoosh. Crash.
I screamed as I watched a massive branch hit the ground right in front of my kitchen window.
Thoughts blurred, I looked for my husband who had only been inside for a few minutes. Moments before, he had been working right outside. The boys came running and as any rational mom would do, I yelled at them to stop yelling and stay calm as I frantically scrambled for shoes.
The five of us trekked outside to assess the damage. Yep, it was a big branch. Yep, it went right through the newly constructed fence. Yep, it was a mess.
We all kind of quietly gasped when we turned to the right and saw the pool. Covered with leaves and sticks and limbs large enough to cause physical damage to us. The pool where we all had been a few hours earlier. My thinking shifted from the mess we were facing to the disaster that might have been.
One of the boys began verbalizing the “what if” questions. “What if we would have been out here?” “What if the branch had landed on the house?” “What if the rest of the tree falls?”
Interrupting his line of questions, I attempted to guide him away from the maybes to the facts. I could hear my own doubts reflected in his. How many questions had I offered up recently about all of those headlines I was reading. All of those hurts happening around the globe and in our own circle.
“What if a vote goes this way or that?”
“How many more lives will be reduced to a tweet?”
"What does today's breaking news mean for the world my boys will live in tomorrow?”
Somehow in attempting to calm some fears about a tree branch, I received comfort about my own worries.
Yes, the backyard was a complete mess. Yes, the fence needed to be repaired. Yes, the pool’s usual covering of floats and balls had been replaced with leaves and sticks.
But we hadn’t been in the pool. God’s timing.
The fence and the pool only had minimal damage. God’s kindness.
The branch hadn’t hit with full force. We noticed that its weight had been slowed by another branch. God’s mercy.
The house wasn’t touched. God’s Hand. The kid with all of the questions noticed the next day that the branch hadn’t fallen in the correct position. Somehow it didn’t fall where it logically should have. It looked as if someone had turned it to fall away from the house. God’s protection.
In summary, God’s faithfulness.
The broken branch was a big one. And it caused quite a mess. But the lesson we'll take away is a much bigger deal. Because there are going to be times when you feel just one more gust of wind may be the breaking point. Or one more soundbite may crack your faith. When the questions seem to outnumber the answers.
God is still kind. He is merciful. He protects. And He is oh, so faithful.
Even when the world outside the window seems to be crashing down.