Mid-morning, news by phone: the shocking death, the accident, and muddied notions of what happened…

By evening, details:

He’s cutting a tree. It splits…

Time moves, she worries, he ought to be home… She calls, they go, finally find him…

That morning it’s she I think of first and most. By evening I agonize for her,  but also think of myself, with Husband of similar mold…

Mind images roll, reroll, like a nightmare loop.

It could have been him, me. Still could…

He gets home, I tell him. I beg never, at least, go do such work alone, and he gives no promise, or even a head nod, at least doesn’t lie, doesn’t false-promise. But there it is.

I pray. Repeatedly. For her, most of all. Then selfish love prays for Husband’s protection, that a similar accident “please, God,” never happen…

Men like that, I know some. Physical, active, little able to confine themselves long within walls, even when sick — whose temperament keeps them moving, doing, accomplishing much that benefits others. 

And I know their wives, or daughters, who worry till ill or vainly love-nag — or for sanity’s sake resign themselves to how it is, this particular unchanging bent, and leave it with God.

Men sometimes will just not listen to those who say, “Don’t do that!”

And sometimes with good reason…

Paul wouldn’t listen when friends wept and pled and prophesied ill. Against their wishes he took the road to Jerusalem, which became his path to death (Acts 21:10-15). Yes, he went against their wishes, even against their prophecies — but not against God’s. He understood what his friends were saying, but he also knew what God had said… “how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake… ” (Acts 9:10-12, 15-16).

Christ wouldn’t listen, either, when Peter tried to dissuade him. “Get behind me, Satan!”   He replied (Mt 16:21-23), and set His face like flint and walked into His own devastation: “They plowed my back,” “I cry out,” “am weary with groaning…”

Even knowing He’d suffer the cruelest tree and most hurtful betrayal, He went. That took soul wrestling so intense it oozed blood from pores. Then no one could stop Him, and thanks ever be, for the love that constrained Him, love for the Father, and for us.


Considering this, in these days leading up to the time of his crucifixion, death, and resurrection,  I continue recording reasons to worship Him (counting toward 10,000):

31 – He is light (1 Jn 1:5)

32 – In Him is no darkness at all (1 Jn 1:5)

33 – He is faithful and just to forgive confessed sins… (1 Jn 1:9)

34 – ...and to cleanse from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9)

35 – He, in Christ, is an Advocate on our behalf (1 Jn 2:1)

36 – He, Christ, is the righteous” (1 Jn 2:1; 2:29)

37 – He Himself is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 Jn 2:2)

38 – The government will be upon His shoulder (Is 9:6)

39 – His very name is “Wonderful” (Is 9:6)

40 – He is the “Counselor” (Is 9:6)

41 – He is the “Mighty God” (Is 9:6)

42 – He is the “Everlasting Father” (Is 9:6)

43 – He is the “Prince of Peace” (Is 8:6)

44 – Of the increase of His government there will be no end (Is 9:7)

45 – Of the increase of His peace there will be no end (Is 9:7)

46 – His government will be established with judgment and justice forever (Is 9:7)

47 – His zeal will perform this (Is 9:7)


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20 thoughts on “Cruel Trees

    1. Thanks for your kindness, Mari-Anna. Agony assuaged, here. I waited a couple weeks to post this. Prayers for his dear widow (lovely woman) would be appreciated. Both of them being Christians does make a difference. But it was so unexpected, and there is so much for the family to take care of. May your spring also be blessed with His grace!

  1. I’m so sorry for your friend’s loss. My husband is the same sort of active temperament, so I also empathize with your response of fear. This counting of reasons to worship Him is a beautiful discipline. May the Lord use His Name to calm our fears.

    Today I also read the earlier post about vision loss and photography. A book I recently read mentioned the same prize-winning photographer. What a lovely gift from God to send you that news at the perfect time!

    Even though I rarely comment here, you remain on my prayer list. Grace and peace to you in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    1. So good to “see” you again, “tinuviel”! I need to get over to your place and leave some comments I’ve had in my head but haven’t gotten onto the computer screen yet. I usually read from my email.

      Yes, isn’t God’s timing amazing? That kind of thing, like about the photographer, happens a lot — probably more than I even know because we need to be tuned in to notice when He “shows up.” And yes, His Name does calm fears. This “counting reasons” does, too, among other uplifting things. So does another discipline I’ve been trying to develop: stopping at 3 PM for “Tea with my Savior,” taking some time for prayer and scripture and other reading that follows (18th century) Wm Law’s recommended focus for that time of day: on resignation to the will of God. That’s often the perfect time for that!

      Thanks so much for commenting. Really warms my heart, dear sister.

  2. Sylvia, I am sorry for your loss and for his wife. How sad. one never knows and such simple things can go wrong.
    Thank you for your kind words on my blog as I pondered sacrifice, getting older and feeling left behind. It seems it is a common thought for many and I take comfort in knowing other women have similar feelings. we will continue to trust…and wait.

    1. Oh, thank you Shanda. Yes, you know, I am finding an unexpected treasure in blogging community. A sisterhood of worship and praise, and open and honest sharing that makes for some real fellowship. That certainly is a helping gift from God! Actually, your post was just what I needed to read this morning — and your comment this evening! Thanks again. Yes, trust and wait.

  3. Sorry, I am back! I couldn’t find your email but wanted to say I also appreciated your thoughts on John the Baptist and the things left unaccomplished.

    1. Don’t be sorry, Shanda. I’m glad to see you again! 🙂 Thanks for your further encouragement. (I guess you can tell I’ve been giving this subject some thought lately!) God bless!

  4. Sylvia,

    I am so, so sorry to read of the loss of a friend. You write of this incident with such grace and poetic beauty. May He care for the hearts of everyone involved. Sending love,


    1. Yes, Connie Noelle, it really is a loss to the whole neighborhood. But we see God working some good things even from this tragedy. Thank you for kind and encouraging words. Blessings!

  5. Oh, I am so, so sorry. This is terribly sad. Your interpretation is so beautiful, though. Especially how you note that sometimes not listening really works out for the best – and where we would be had those people listened to what others suggested?
    Prayers for you and your friend.

  6. Yes, Mary, it’s about listening to God and doing His will, isn’t it? It also shows me that my personal desires or opinions about what others should do might not be the best ideas, might not be God’s will. Thank you for kindness, Mary. God bless your weekend!

  7. What a tragic loss! I am so sorry!

    And, yes…we do what we must, despite the potential danger. While that can be a bad thing, when given to Christ, it is a good thing.

    You might enjoy my current (related) post, in which I talk about the desire to do the will of the Father being a deeper desire, a higher priority, than self-preservation.

  8. Yes, Joe. That’s the real faith walk, isn’t it? (Painful sometimes. But with promised reward.)

    BTW, visited your post, and it has such good truth that meshes with this idea. Thanks for your visit and comment. God bless!

    1. Yes, Nikki, fragile like the sparrow… 🙂
      I visited your site. Your beautiful post there and the picture of the sparrow made me think of this Victor Hugo quote: “Be like the bird, who Pausing in his flight On limb too slight, Feels it give way beneath him, Yet sings,Knowing he has wings.” Thank you for visiting and commenting, and may God lift you up on His wings.

  9. Life is such a gift! I am so sorry for your loss and for the loss his grieving wife is experiencing. It is difficult, if not impossible, to understand why these things happen. However, we can trust that our God will be with us as we travel through hard times.

    1. Thank you, Joan. Yes, life is such a gift, and to have the Christ-life within this earth-life, wow! every moment a gem of time, and God with us, in the hard and the beautiful! So glad you visited and commented!

  10. So many things we don’t understand in this life. Some day we will. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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