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He Commands the Wind

September 29, 2011

There’s only a small leap of faith in this post: if God knows every sparrow that falls, then he also knows when the tree falls in whose branches the sparrow once sat.

before

The day after the current owners accepted our final offer on our new-house-to-be, my husband and I walked through the back yard again. I went to my favorite place, the ruins of the old barn, and began mulling. I’d just concluded that the original floor was likely packed earth and was trying to imagine where the stalls had been when my husband said,

“Look at that tree.”

“I know,” I said, not looking up from my survey. “It must have self-seeded. Maybe 50 years ago? Nobody would deliberately plant a tree right next to a stone wall. You can see how the roots have moved the stones. Maybe the barn was already abandoned by then…”

“No. I don’t mean that,” he said. “Look up. It’s almost dead.”

I looked up. About 30 feet up the leaves were undersized, yellowed, curling. “Wow,” I said.”It’s pretty sick. But I never noticed. Even looking out the second story of the house, the canopy is above the line of sight.”

“We’ll have to budget to have it removed,” he said. “It’s not safe to let the girls play back here with a tree ready to fall down.”

*****

This afternoon, I went over to the new house to walk through with our Realtor prior to closing tomorrow. The current owner met me at the door. “You won’t believe this. I don’t believe this. 24 hours from now it would be your tree not my tree! We were just standing here fifteen minutes ago and watched the tree fall down.”

I walked to the back windows and saw half of the tree laying on top of the barn rubble. It had fallen through the  gap in the wall that used to be a doorway without disturbing a single stone.

I was trying not to beam,”Praise God for his perfect timing!” because she was obviously upset –as if with her house not yet packed up and closing only 15 hours away she needed one more thing to do.

“Think maybe you’ll want a lot of firewood for the fire pit?” she asked hopefully.

“No,” I said. “Sorry. Because the tree is diseased, we were planning to have the wood hauled away.”

*****

Later, when I related the part about firewood to my husband, he observed, “You must have felt really put on the spot.”

“Well, yes,” I said. “The last thing I expected to hear when I walked in the door was that God had blown down the tree.”

“I could tell. If you’d had time to think about it you would have told her we’d keep the wood just to make her feel better.”

After 18 years together, my husband knows me. I’m sitting here right now feeling a little guilty about our blessing.

*****

“Bless the Lord, O my soul!” commands Psalm 104.

“O Lord my God, you are very great!….

He makes the clouds his chariot;

He rides on the wings of the wind;

He makes his messengers winds;

His ministers a flaming  fire….

All [things] look to you,

to give them their food in due season.

When you give it to them they gather it up;

when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

When you hide your face, they are dismayed;

you take away their breath, they die

and return to their dust….

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;

may the Lord rejoice in his works,

who looks on the earth and it trembles,

who touches the mountains and they smoke.”

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