For a few weeks this summer I worked at Young Disciple Youth Bible Camp as a counselor. The first week I had the wonderful privilege of assisting in the Literature Evangelism class with Eugene Prewitt. On day one I helped campers memorize their canvass (and memorized it myself), and the rest of the week we went door to door spreading the gospel. God truly blessed. We broke several records, and the weather was perfect for canvassing. Even on our last day, when we did get a little rain, the bad weather didn't damage our books and I think it actually made people more sympathetic and generous.
Once we got into the van on our last day, however, the drizzle that had been helping us earlier became a menacing windstorm. Trees bent over dangerously and leaves swirled across the road. "They may close the ferry with a storm like this, but I think we can make it," said Mr. Prewitt as he stepped on the gas. Speeding down the country road at 60mph we noticed a white mist above the surface of the water heading our direction. None of us knew for sure what it was, but Mr. Prewitt decided it was a wall of rain. "We'll be in the rain in 3, 2, 1...," just as he finished the countdown a big black thing flashed towards the windshield and there was a loud bang. Glass sprayed through the van all the way to the third row. Somehow my eyes closed before the shards hit me, but I felt them skim my face and blow through my hair.
Later, as we looked back on what had happened and praised the Lord for laminated glass, I marveled at the Lord's protection. The log that dented in our windshield should have dented in my face, but I came away without a scratch.
Now, it is the rainy season in Timor, and you don't have to look at the sky to know it. The earth is completely saturated with water. Puddles, little upstart streams, and new lakes and ponds fill every depression in the ground. Today I saw a puddle-maker coming, but I wanted to get home before it hit, so I headed out in a hurry. As I was speed walking along, the wind started to blow sharp raindrops right into my face. They kept coming into my eyes so I couldn't really see where I was going. No longer was I trying to make it home before the rain, I was trying to make it home before the flood (well...maybe that's an exaggeration, but I was soaked within seconds).
To make things worse, the local men in their shops were laughing and calling at this silly "malai" who got herself stuck in a rainstorm. As usual, I ignored them and kept plowing ahead, but then one man wouldn't stop calling. His calls turned to yelling. Then there were two men yelling. I was rather disgusted and just kept heading home without looking back. I was almost there, I could even see my house. Crack! I almost jumped when right next to me a tree started to fall. I don't know how tall it was, but I don't think I could have gotten my arms around its trunk. A quick prayer flashed through my mind. I don't think it was much more than an, "O Father..." but He heard me. Somehow, with the wind blowing the rain right in my face, the tree fell away from me. Women in the fruit market on the other side of the tree screamed and ran. Their booths were crushed and splintered like a pile of toothpicks, but praise the Lord, no one was hurt.
...Looking back on today, and my life in general, I know that the Lord has me here for "such a time as this," and I know that He has you where you are for a reason too. The devil may not be trying to throw trees at you, but if you are doing the Lord's work, he'll throw discouragement, exhaustion, excuses, temptation, and all kinds of trials your way. Yet, don't focus on the logs or trees or your shortcomings or fears. Our Lord uses weakness, hardship, pain, and even the devil's plans to bring glory to His name. "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me," (2 Cor. 12:9). "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing," (James 1:2-4).
Through all things, may our Lord work that perfect work in me, and may His divine strength be showcased by my helpless dependence on Him.
Praise the Lord!