I spent my childhood in places where hurricanes are the most common natural disaster, so I’m wired to worry when the wind blows hard. Wednesday night, I listened to the wind howl and prayed our trees would withstand the fury. I also fretted and flinched every time a pine cone plummeted from above and smacked the roof. I turned on the news and found the footage of toppled trees more upsetting than informative. As I struggled to get to sleep, I remembered we had our trees evaluated and pruned in anticipation of such storms; even though the storms had come later than we’d expected, the trees were ready. Weren’t they?

Thursday morning, we only had a few small boughs down, along with a normal number of pine cones. When the winds returned Thursday night, I was able to sleep comfortably, thankful the trees were in good shape.

Friday morning, I gave prayers of thanks for the absence of detritus in the yard. And I gave thanks for the realization that we are like trees, often buffeted by unexpected storms in life. But if we’ve pruned hate, doubt, and fear from our lives, we can withstand the winds. If we’ve kept our spiritual roots healthy – watered them with the Living Water, fed them with the Word, and centered them in love and grace – we will survive the storms. We may snap and crack along the edges, but we will remain whole and upright, reaching toward Heaven and not bowing to the Earth.

We follow the Lord who calmed the storm. No matter how the winds may howl, He does not desert us. As hard as life may work to uproot us, He holds us secure in His love. Let us stand firm, anchored in that love, holding fast against the storms, that we may encourage others to root themselves in His salvation.

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and He brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and He guided them to their desired haven.”
Psalm 107:28-30