Undescribable! It was the combination of sounding like an explosion, a crack, and a bang, all simultaneously rolled into one. It kept us inside that night. I told my bride, “I am not going out there!” We waited out the residual effects of a Hurricane named Opal in the bedroom of our tiny 50 year old house on a street called Elm, which we had purchased as a newly married couple. Yes, that night did feel like a nightmare on Elm street. The next morning I looked out our window to discover a huge oak tree had fallen asleep on top of our neighbors’ garage.
Since I was stumped that winds were successful in blowing down a seemingly, immovable oak tree, I did a little research. For starters, oak trees, have an extensive root system that spreads horizontally out from the trunk, so it is not a big feat to knock ‘em down since their roots do not grow deep. Impressive and tall on the outside, but they are not always able to withstand ferocious winds.
We tend to idolize men and women who seem to have the unshakable faith of Gibraltar. Listen to what L.B. Cowman stated in the classic Streams in the Desert: “When you see a spiritual giant, think of the road over which he has traveled, not the sunny lane where wildflowers ever bloom, but a steep, rocky narrow pathway where the blasts of hell will almost blow you off your feet! God of the sun and rain, Thou who dost measure the weight of wind, fit us for stress and strain!”
Who hasn’t been knocked down by shocking circumstances in life? In the movie Chariots of Fire, the late actor Ian Charleson portrayed runner Eric Liddell, who was purposely knocked down by a fellow sprinter while he was competing in a race. What did Eric do? In the film, he got back up, and got back in the race and…won!
Winds of change do not discriminate. How many people never get back up because they cannot get over the hurdle of painful cards dealt to them? In my entire working career since the 7th grade (when I was a paperboy) I have only been let go or fired or terminated one time. Nonetheless, it was still a hard blow, like when I was told I have CAD (Coronary Artery Disease) resulting in an 8-inch scar on my chest.
From his book Galatians, Paul asks a hard question (in chapter 5 verse 7) “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? I have wanted to get out of the race God uniquely called me to due to some negative church experiences. That has been the greatest test of my faith, but I didn’t leave as I realized my experiences became my excuses. How would you honestly answer Paul’s question? Will you trust God with the outcome of “your” race?
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & His Nikon” except for Chariots of Fire photos, as I took those from my TV while watching DVD clips from the movie.