The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
We have a majestic live oak tree in our front yard. At least that's what the owner of the tree company told me last fall after his crew finished trimming it. "Mr. Davis, if I had to have an oak tree, this is the one it would be. Its growing pattern is perfect, and it is extremely healthy." I was glad to hear that, and it brought back fond memories of the even larger oak tree that once lived in our back yard before Hurricane Katrina blew it down and onto our house in 2005. I'll never forget the tree men who removed it telling us, "We have no idea how your house is still standing." We knew, of course. We still miss that tree, while also still living in our house that has never looked back after we had its roof repaired.
All this leads up to mentioning some less than majestic trees in our backyard, of the scrub oak variety. Last week, I realized we had a number of them growing behind a tall ligustrum hedge (18-20 feet) that borders the southern and eastern sides of our property. Several times in our 30 years, the scrub oaks have snuck up on me, becoming tall and even dangerous. That was the discovery I made last week. A number of trees behind the ligustrum placed our neighbor's property in jeopardy. This led to my cutting down - without problem - all of the trees except one, which had had grown to at least 20 feet tall, with a trunk diameter of 6-8 inches. It leaned into our neighbor's yard, threatening a beautiful orange tree to the south, and her house to the west. Because of its size and positioning, I considered calling the tree company to have them take the oak down. That is quite expensive, of course, which led me to much prayer about what I should do.
I decided yesterday morning, after more prayer, that I'd take the tree down. I had both a power saw and a handsaw to execute the precise cuts I would need for the tree to fall toward the east. I made the cuts, and am certain that I did so exactly as I should have. "There it goes!" Yes, there it went - in exactly the opposite direction my cuts should have caused. The oak missed the orange tree, but to my shock and horror, I watched it fall directly toward my neighbor's house.
It is amazing how many centuries one can live in a second or two. Time seemed to stand still as I watched the tree fall, and waited for the sound of destruction. But it never came. Instead, the tree fell with a relatively gentle plop onto my neighbor's yard. It landed five feet from the corner eave of her house. Not a leaf touched the structure. I had misjudged the height of the tree and its distance from the house. In fact, the corridor in which the tree fell actually served as the best possible pathway for its fall.
"A man's heart deviseth his way. But the Lord directeth his steps" (Proverbs 16:9).
When the tree came to rest, I began a chuckling that was ongoing through the afternoon, along with many offerings of praise and gratitude to the One who somehow caused the tree to fall in the exact opposite of the direction I had planned and seemingly executed. I am chuckling now, and praising and thanking. We serve an amazing Lord, don't we? He takes such good care of us, sometimes allowing difficult things to happen in the knowledge He can weave them together for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and our best interests. And sometimes, He executes things in such a wondrous way that no words can describe the glory of His bestowals of grace. Yes, I had devised a way. But Lord directed my steps. Or rather, He guided to its destination a scrub oak that was not majestic during its earthly lifetime. It will always be majestic in my heart, however, or rather, it will forever remind me of the majestic One who died on another tree so that He might so wonderfully involve Himself in the lives of those who trust Him.
"I will speak of the glorious honor of Thy majesty, and of Thy wondrous works."
"Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass."
Weekly Memory Verse
Consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.