Vague Prayer, Specific Answers

Fallen Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia  
When a Tree Falls
Yesterday morning, as I do each morning, I prayed while showering. Usually I use this time to pray specifically about the day ahead, lifting up friends and family with needs, giving thanks, and asking for help with the challenges I foresee. It’s a good habit for me, as few distractions present themselves in the shower.
Yesterday morning I was blank. I listened for a while, then offered the vaguest of prayers: “Watch over us today, Lord.” I didn’t even specify who “us” was.
A few hours later, at work, I received a photo via text message from my husband Rich. It showed me that one of our magnificent oak trees had loosed its grip in the rain-softened earth and fallen over. Son Ryan had watched the tree topple from our back deck and contacted his dad with the news.
Today, I am immensely grateful for God’s careful watch over us yesterday.
Each morning, school children make their way up a path beside our fence. It’s the shortcut out of our little canyon. We purposely left an open pathway when we fenced our property because we didn’t want to block the kids’ shortcut. The tree landed in that path:
The Neighborhood Shortcut
Had the tree come down a few hours earlier, it could have been tragic.
Rich had asked Ryan to trench away soil that had accumulated along the fence at the bottom of our property. Ryan’s been working at that task each day. Had he been trenching with his shovel when the tree fell, he would have been in harm’s way.
Typically I put our three beloved dogs in the yard when I leave for work. It was cold yesterday morning, and Ryan was home, so I left them in the house.
When we added the fence, we included a jog in the fence line to accommodate parking at the bottom of our lot. My old boat sits on a trailer there, awaiting restoration. Ryan parks there. The tree missed those targets (along with a fire hydrant) by a few feet.

Our Parking Pad

We are sad to lose this spreading old oak, which gave us beauty and shade. We are filled with praise, too. No one was crushed beneath the enormous tree. No significant property damage resulted: one fence rail was broken. Part of our neighbor’s rotted deck, which he was preparing to demolish, came down.

The Lord was watching over many of us yesterday.

6 When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and He will reward you. 7 When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. 8 Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask.
Matthew 6:6-8 (CEV)

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