Early August I was sitting in my living room with my QUAD (this is a group of 4 women who meet together monthly through Branch Women – it is awesome!). As we were talking, we heard a very loud crashing sound. I immediately got up, looked outside, and saw nothing. We went back to meeting. An hour or so later, as I walked my friends outside – we looked over, in the dark, to see a giant limb had fallen from the neighbor’s tree next door.
As you can see, the way it fell does not make sense. You can also tell the rest of the tree was soon to follow. It is DEAD.
What you can’t see in the picture is that I had asked the Lord to take care of the tree several weeks before. For whatever reason, my neighbor has not been particularly motivated to take deal with the dead tree. Even as neighbors have offered to help, they had been politely turned down. So, as I was praying about it one day, I just said, “Lord, will just take care of that tree?”
Flash forward to the tree crashing into the yard – not hitting one single thing. Upon seeing it I praised God, knowing He had heard my prayer! The way it fell makes no sense – it should have landed on our cars! So cool!
This is where the story takes a turn – I immediately began worrying about what would happen with the other part of the tree. So much so, I quit parking in my driveway or garage because I just knew the tree would fall right on top of it. I became silently angry at my neighbor for the neglect of the situation – shutting down any thought of compassion or patience. This went on for about two weeks. But then it hit me – like a tree falling on ME – I had fallen right back into a pattern of worrying and not trusting.
You know, I tell you these stories more for me than anyone else. I write them down because I feel the Lord has asked me to do so. I believe one of the reasons He has asked me to do this is SO I WILL REMEMBER.
I am sure I have shared this with you before, and I will again – one of my most favorite Psalms is 143.
This penitential psalm is one in which the writer, David, is aware of his own sin and thus, his troubles. The Psalm is an expression of His dependence and need for God’s mercy – His help. He opens the Psalm by crying out for mercy. He continues that the enemy has pursued him – “therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.” (v.4)
And then, my favorite part, v.5-6:

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to you;
My soul thirsts for you like a parched land.

The strength David needs to take another step – another breath comes only from God. And how does He go forward? He goes forward by remembering all that the Lord has done. It reminds Him of His power, provision, love, mercy, etc. Through remembering, he can take a new breath, and stretch his hands out to God with courage and confidence. He thirsts for the Lord – asking for and expecting His new mercies, realizing His complete dependence on God, his Rock.

I must confess that I too often forget what the Lord has done – the work of His hands. I too often forget the ways He has provided, protected, delivered. Even in the midst of an answer prayer, I find myself worrying about the next thing. Even in the midst of an answered prayer I limit God by what I think is or is not possible.
Maybe you relate?
This morning I was in a back bedroom working and I hear a very loud crash. I ran outside to see the other part of the tree had fallen – right between our two houses, causing little to no damage. I opened my Bible to Psalm 143 and repented. And then I was burdened SO MUCH by the fact I have not been PRAYING fervently for those in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Haiti. I was burdened by the fact I have not been more diligent about praying for our country – divided as it is. So – rewrote this week’s email, I had to share this with you in hope you would be encouraged to REMEMBER all that He has done that we may stretch out our hands in prayer. In complete awareness of our need – and the world’s need – for His mercy and grace.

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
For in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
For to you I lift up my soul. (143:8)
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