Yesterday, we had one of the most beautiful spring days that you can imagine. The weather was in the mid-seventies, the sun was shining and people were ready to get out to enjoy God’s creation. Janet and I took Hank, our dog, for a two mile walk as we do most days and, of course, we followed all the social distancing guidelines. People were anxious to spend a little time outdoors after all the isolation we have experienced during the coronavirus pandemic. I was so energized that when we got back home, I decided to get out the hoses and re-install them for spring. We also carried down several pieces of outdoor furniture from the attic and things were looking good – no, great.
The trees are blooming, especially the beautiful pear tree in our front yard, the grass is turning green and it was probably the most perfect day that we have had so far this spring. I thought about my chores for today and now that the hoses are ready, I planned to clean the bird feeders we have in the front yard. For some reason, that chore, that I am not very fond of, seems to signify the beginning of spring for me. That, and changing out the winter car mats, which I did last week-end…
Late in the afternoon, clouds started to roll in a little and it seemed like our wonderful spring day would come to an end. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before my iPhone warned us of an impending storm. Such is life in the midwest – since Janet and I both grew up in Chicago, we know what it is like to have the weather change on a moment’s notice.
Anyway, I put my tools away, noticed the beautiful, colorful sky and got ready for dinner. Not long after, it got dark out. Dark like nighttime… not dusk, but like the dead of night. Soon after the wind started to pick up, the trees starting swaying and then it started to sprinkle. I tried to get Hank to go out before the rain, but he wouldn’t leave my side. In fact, he wanted to stay so close to me that I wondered what was wrong. Then it hit – the storm, that is…
The rain came and pelted our lakeside windows. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the large drops started to turn to ice and the noise increased as the windows were pelted with sleet and slush. Not more than a minute later, hail was raining down on the rear deck and slamming against the windows. The noise was deafening. I really thought the panes of glass were going to break and the storm would be coming into our home.
It rained so hard, and the wind was so intense, that water actually seeped in around several windows lakeside as Janet and I walked around cleaning up small puddles. Hank was terrified and we weren’t far behind. The storm lasted for at least fifteen minutes and then started to subside. Eventually, a gentle rain replaced the torrents of water and damaging winds that had been blowing only minutes before. We were grateful, to say the least, but it was the longest fifteen minutes I can remember.
It has been years since I have observed this kind of storm. I dread the thought of damaging hail but we were grateful to get to bed with relative calm outside our windows.
This morning, we awoke and I went out to pick up the paper at the end of the driveway. Imagine my surprise when half our gorgeous pear tree was laying on the ground, blocking the sidewalk and even protruding out into the street. I was crushed… we loved that tree. We were able to get an appointment with a tree service to see if our tree could be saved. Late this afternoon, we made the decision to cut it down, grind the stump out and start to look for replacements.
It only took about twenty minutes for all physical reminders of the tree to be gone. Boy, the crew worked fast. It was sad… Thankfully, nobody was hurt, the house wasn’t hit and the light pole and mailbox weren’t damaged. I was also able to contact several folks who will assess the window situation next week and sooner or later, I will have someone out to look at the roof. Needless to say, the bird feeders didn’t get done.
As I look back on the events of last night and today, I am reminded of the awesome power of God. The speed and severity of the storm were nothing short of miraculous. Thankfully, we were spared any severe damage, at least as far as we know. How can anyone question the existence of God when we witness something this powerful. And it wasn’t even a full fledged tornado – although winds did exceed sixty miles per hour.
Our verse for tonight reflects God’s power to control nature and all of creation. Some of us might think that we are in control, that is until we witness something like this. We are told by the psalmist in Psalms 18:12, “Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning.” I guess I forgot to tell you about the thunder and lightning – I don’t know that I have ever seen such a display in my entire life.
My encouragement tonight is that God’s presence, knowledge and power are beyond our human comprehension. And yet, God sent His Son to the cross to die for our sins. He didn’t need to do that – he did it for us. We need God, but He pursues and wants us… more than we can imagine. My prayer is that as we celebrate Easter this week-end, we will all remember the supreme sacrifice Jesus made for us – and that this memory of the storm will help each of us to be drawn closer to Him for all eternity! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…