Sometimes God just stretches you.
God stretched many people in the Bible, to places where things just seemed impossible.
Moses, Job, Joseph, Ruth, Esther, Abraham and Sarah, and the list goes on and on.
I am slowly learning that sometimes God puts us at a point where things seem so impossible for us, that when they fall into place, there is no way to credit anyone BUT him! We are in such a place right now. This is a time to praise the Lord for his goodness, and mercy, and humbly come before in in prayer.
Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, and we are so so thankful that we are all safe, we have electricity back, plenty to eat (our food kept well.) During the storm, I couldn’t sleep. My husband and I both sat there, awake, listening to things banging on the side of the house. It was nerve wracking. We were terrified of the tree in our front yard (which is somewhat rotten in the trunk,) falling on the house, and that it would hit our children’s bedroom. We trooped everybody into our room, which was probably the safest room in the house, and the kids bunked out on the floor, all snuggled together in a pile of cuteness.
At one point I said (with anxiety and urgency, I’m sure) “Oh no! What about the cat?!” I had tried to get her to come inside, but when I had called, she was nowhere to be found. Hearing that wind blow, and things bang against the house, I was truly worried for her safety. We had even made a small shelter on the back of the porch, away from the rain, but she wasn’t using it. I was REALLY worried. A little voice piped up in the dark. “It’s ok Mom! God is controlling the storm! He’ll take care of Kitty! I just know he will!” Oh the faith of a child. It was a precious moment, and a truly humbling one.
We sat awake long after the children, in all their childlike faith, went to sleep. They slept through the whole thing, unafraid, and trusting that God would care for them. My husband and I got very little sleep, as we sat up and weathered the storm. The winds were blowing very hard, and trees were shaking like little rag dolls. Oddly, despite all the cloud cover, and lack of lightning, we could see everything perfectly. At one point I went on the back porch to call the cat again. The force of the wind scared me back inside before I even cleared the door. As we sat there, unnerved and scared, we remembered a children’s sermon spoken at our church, based on Psalm 29:
In the psalm, the psalmist describes a storm, controlled by God, terrifying in its power, so powerful that it shakes the famous cedar trees of Lebanon (shaking of the trees seemed rather appropriate at this time.) He speaks of the majesty of God’s voice. and he concludes the Psalm with a description of how Israel faces this mighty storm. Not as an uncontrolled terror, ready to gobble them up, but as a carrier for God’s Glory.
“and in his temple, ALL cry GLORY!”
These are not a people crippled in fear by this storm, these are a people who have gathered to worship the God in control of his storm. To glorify his power and majesty.
We felt a peace after discussing this, and then went to sleep until the morning.
When we awoke in the morning it was with the attitude of children on a snow day. We found that during the night we had lost power, but we had expected, and prepared for that. We enjoyed time as a family, playing cards, teaching the girls how to keep score, and group “families” in Rummy. I even taught the kids how to play War. We discovered the bathroom roof was leaking, but it was a bit worse than usual, as the roof had leaked before in a bad storm. We whipped out the buckets and towels, and went about our business, content with the thought that with proper water damage management, it would only take a leak repair once the rain had stopped. We knew that:
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
We were secure in the thought, that whatever had occurred in this storm was not beyond his power to provide for. But what we did not know is how far our faith in his provision would be stretched.
When the rain *had* stopped, my husband went outside to asses the roof. We thought it must be leaking so profusely because a puddle or something had formed over the leak. We did not know what he would find. He went out over the 2nd floor balcony, set up the ladder on the first floor roof, and climbed on up, only to find that about a third of the roof over the bathroom, and our bedroom, was ripped off like the top of a tin can. The corner was pulled upward, exposing the beams and insulation below. First thought? How are we ever going to pay for this? We don’t even have the money on hand to buy the minivan we so sorely need before March when Isaiah makes his appearance, so how will we pay the thousands of dollars for a new roof, new insulation, and repairs to the very badly water damaged ceiling in the bathroom?
This is that impossible moment where the math doesn’t add up. There is not, and cannot be enough money, on our own power, to pay for this roof and a minivan before March. Even with the Insurance claim going through, they will not replace the roof, they will only pay for the portion that was damaged, despite the fact that now the whole roof must be replaced. We also have a bit of a hitch in the giddy-up, in that the roofer showed up and nailed the roof back down *before* we could get pictures of the storm damage as it was. We are hoping his statement alone is enough for the insurance co. The damage is still there, and still evident. And this fix was only enough to stop the leaking temporarily, and keep the roof from blowing off any further. We have yet to make a decision regarding permanent repairs, until we hear more from our insurance co.
We know at this point that ONLY God can make this happen. And let me tell you, prayers are flying up from this house with frequency and urgency. This is one of those moments where doubt just doesn’t enter in. God will provide.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
We have one thing we are immeasurably thankful for, that it wasn’t worse. Looking at the pictures from New Jersey and New York, we are in awe of what this storm has done to many folks. We pray for them all, as they face clean up, repairs, and putting their lives back together. We also pray for the families of those who have died in Hurricane Sandy. Please pray with us for the many lives affected by this storm, and that despite the many who are in a tough spot right now, that we will all recognize God’s glory in the wake of this large and destructive storm. We know he can work anywhere, in any way he chooses, and we pray for those who are recognizing his power for the first time, or seeing it in action again.