I was asked to give the prayer of invocation at a Cherokee County Republican event last night.  It was a great evening.  Rep. Steve King was there, and my wife and I had supper with Barbara Grassley, Sen. Grassley’s wife.  We heard from Brenna Findley, Bill Anderson, and other candidates.  Here is the prayer I offered.

Sovereign and gracious God, you are the God of all nations, in your providence and wisdom you cause nations to rise and fall, in the light of your wisdom you guide us through times of abundance and times of want; we thank you for your guiding hand which has lead us in our pilgrimage, and for your graciousness that has blessed our land.  We confess that often times we tend to trust in the strength of men rather than in your Almighty hand, we readily proclaim our self-reliance and independence, and we forget that we depend on you for our daily bread.  Teach us to trust in you, and in you alone, for our safety, our security, our liberty, and our happiness in life.  Raise up for our nation men and women who, in humility and gratitude, will serve you as they serve this state and this nation.  We lift before you our president, and all who have been elected to serve this nation and state, that they may be led by the light of your wisdom, guided by your truth and justice, and that your providential hand may work your sovereign purpose in and through them. 

Gracious God, we thank you for the meal we have shared tonight, for the hands that have prepared it, for the fellowship and friendship we share around these tables, but most of all, for the love, the forgiveness, the life and the truth that we know in your Son, Christ Jesus our Lord.  In all that we say, in all that we do, in all that we are, may we give you praise, glory, and honor, this day and forevermore.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

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!