My Treed House

“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
(Matthew 5:45)

So… Last week I wrote about my kids getting their tonsils removed.  That night, having stayed up till midnight to give them their dose of pain medication, I finally made it to bed around 12:30.  At 1:15, the power went out, and we were awakened by the loudest crashing sound I’ve ever heard.  We quickly went to the window to find that one of the Linden trees laying on the roof of our front porch.

You’ll notice the van parked next to the downed tree.  It is my father-in-law’s and fortunately it was untouched.  The tree didn’t go through the roof, break any windows, or cause any major damage.  Truth is, I wanted that tree gone anyway.

There was a lot of damage from the storm that blew through last week.  Just to the west and north of us, the streets looked like a war zone with all the damaged trees.  Some trees were completely uprooted, some were twisted and snapped in half.  Some had fallen on houses causing major damage, some cars were completely totaled.  All things considered, we were very blessed.

My insurance adjuster referred to this event as an “Act of God.”  Later that day, the weather man came on saying that “mother nature” was brining cool weather and a beautiful week ahead.  Why is it that we attributed the good weather and favorable conditions to some unknown personification of weather called “Mother Nature,” but every time the winds blow or the rivers rise it is called an “Act of God?”  Why do we give praise to “Mother Nature” for the good weather then blame God for the bad?  Is not all weather an act of God?  Does not God bring the rain, the sun, the harvest, and all good gifts (Psalm 147:7-8)?  That the forces of nature can be destructive is only evidence of the brokenness of all creation through the fall of man.  Romans 8 teaches us, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”  Shouldn’t we then call the gracious gift of a beautiful day an “Act of God” and the devastating power of the weather the “Evidence of our Depravity?” (I know, it doesn’t roll off the tongue that well).

Let me tell you how I saw the hand of God on Thursday.  The hand of God prevented the tree from crashing through my house and injuring my family.  The hand of God led good friends (Tim Peterson, Tom Kellen, Logan Patterson, and my father-in-law Don Crow) to help me clear up the mess.  The hand of God kept the entire community from injury in the midst of the storm. 

Job lost everything, not by the hand of God, but by the touch of Satan – a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of his house, and it fell, killing Job’s children.  When Job heard the news, he tore his robe and shaved his head (traditional symbols of mourning), then fell to the ground and worshiped God (a very non-traditional reaction to tragedy).  Job’s simple worship was this, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.  The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” 

Amen to that!

SDG

Under the Doctor’s Care

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword”
(Hebrews 4:12)

Today, our three oldest kids had their Tonsils removed.  After a continuous bout of Strep and Tonsillitis, our physician recommended it was time to take the tonsils.  It was a relatively easy experience for the kids, no tears, twenty minutes in the O.R., then popsicles and rest in front of the couch.  Looking at my three year old, you’d never know he had surgery this morning – someone needs to tell him he’s supposed to not feel good.

The whole ordeal got me thinking about how our bodies work.  I had my Appendix removed when I was in 4th grade, my Tonsils out in 5th – all of my unnecessary organs are now gone.  I am sure that at one time these organs served an important function, and some doctors will argue that they still do.  I have read a little research that suggests that the Tonsils may have had more benefit to the body before the more modern viruses and infections we face today emerged.  The appendix, some suggest, helps regulate bacteria in the colon, maintaining good colon health.

The problem with both the tonsils and the appendix is that these organs which were supposed to help fight infections and keep us healthy, can often times become infected themselves and make us even sicker.  It was the first day of 4th grade when I developed appendicitis.  I told my mom I didn’t want to go to school, she thought I was faking (and 99% of the time she was right).  But after throwing up on my brother convinced her I was sick, I stayed home from school, and finally went to the hospital that evening.  My appendix had become so inflamed and infected with harmful bacteria it had to be removed.  The tonsils themselves have tiny pockets called “crypts” which can often harbor bacteria that can develop into infections and cause sore throats (and very bad breath). 

I am sure that the tonsils and appendix have a greater purpose in God’s ultimate design for our bodies.  But as with everything else, even these insignificant organs, designed to keep us healthy, have been corrupted by sin and thwarted from their good purpose.  Meant to fight infection, often they end up harboring infection and causing the sickness to spread.

Do you see this happen in other areas of your life?  God has created a world of pleasures that are meant to bring us joy and lift our eyes to him.  But in our fallen state, our eyes become fixed on the gifts rather than the Giver, and what was meant to bring us joy only end up causing us pain.  We turn the freedom that God has given us in Christ into a license to sin.  We abuse the dominion that God has given us and pollute our environment.  We see the enormous wealth we have and dream of getting more, while others suffer in need.  The gifts we’ve been given so often become a cancer in our relationship with God and with one another.

As my children had to undergo surgery this morning to remove the source of their continued infection, each of us must come under the corrective touch of our heavenly Father, the Great Physician.  Hebrews 4:12 says, “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  Because our sinful nature goes to the very core of our existence, we require the painful cut of the Physician’s “scalpel” to remove the corruption and infection in our lives.  It is a painful process, being weaned from sin, because it has been a part of us for so long.  But blessing that comes from the cleansing and restoring power of God’s Word in our lives is well worth the cost.

Well, time to take of the pastor’s hat and put the nurse’s hat back on…