Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
Sunday morning, two weeks after the derecho, I walked over and talked to the boss of the Hispanic crew that was clearing away the huge (sadly—beautiful) oak felled in our neighbor’s front yard. We still had two huge piles of brush bookending our circular driveway. City workers had cleared truckloads of our windfall debris across the road, but in the spirit of making-a-good-thing-out-of-bad, I really wanted a load full of chips—after all, they had been our trees.
“So sorry to bother you,” I explained to the men who were taking a break from the hot, hot work (temperature in the upper 90’s) of sawing the oak, hauling the trunk and branch parts away, then chipping everything that could fit into the chipper. “Sure…” they said.
One of the advantages of living in a town where the population is over 65% Hispanic is that the possibilities of crews emerging with trucks and power saws and rakes in hand is ever-present. No one sits around lazily when there are extra dollars to be made (our streets were cleared way before neighboring Wheaton, where the city made a point that there was no budget for this kind of massive cleanup and asked to be declared a disaster zone. I don’t think anyone in West Chicago even thought “disaster zone” though much of it looked disastrous. First you help your neighbor, then you make your own streets clear, next you organize teams of friends and family and see how you can profit (at hugely reasonable fees) by the mess at hand.
Alex, the owner of this service, walked with me so he would be sure we were talking about the same brush piles. We settled on a fee for his crew’s services, then I showed him where I wanted the chips dumped. When David and I returned home from church and Sunday dinner with friends, the brush piles were gone and a large neat mount of mulch sat in the parking driveway. What an easy solution to one of the many problems the derecho left behind.
So this week I have been trying to stay on top of things: The insurance adjustor making an estimate on damages (he left a check that will more than cover our expenses); Alex (of the tree service) looking over the shattered limbs still hanging from trees in the back yard and gave me an estimate (covered almost to the exact amount by the insurance check); David continuing to rake the parkway and beginning to tie up bushes and evergreens still standing but leaning to the ground: land assessors measuring the 25-foot-by-150-foot lot next door and in the process marking our boundaries so we could tell the city which of their trees had fallen on our property from the easement next to our driveway. The AT&T phone guy came by and hooked up a temporary line so we would have phone service. The DirecTV serviceman came by to replace the cable that had been snapped and wrapped itself around a storm-broken downspout, then replaced the satellite dish that had been warped in the wind. The roofing company gave us an estimate on repairing damages (same amount as the insurance adjustor had written out a check for), new cleaning help arrived on Wednesday and another estimate for roof repair was given on Thursday.
No wonder my head was spinning! In the process we had company for dinner and company for breakfast, work at the office, errands to run, a refrigerator and freezer to fill again (after dumping the contents of both and cleaning them better than they’ve been cleaned for a good year).
What I want to say in all of this is that at every point we have felt God’s care and provision and timing. The tree service was at our next door neighbor’s as we were leaving for church and we could make arrangements right then. The insurance adjustor and I began talking about his father and brother who are both Lutheran church pastors—I kept feeling that he was going out of his way to be helpful to us and to give us an adjustment that would cover the damages. The AT&T and DirecTV repairmen were both extroverts, attempted to be helpful and go the second mile in repairing damages. The new cleaning help (who I need now that I am starting on strict writing schedules) was efficient and careful, didn’t want to take the extra $20 I had put into her check.
In short, we have been in good hands.
Two days after the insurance adjustor had come, we had a heavy rain (we have been experiencing a rare severe drought in Chicago land (along with about 65% of the country). Window seals leaked, water ran through the joint of the garage roof down through the framing of our kitchen door. This was not from storm damage but probably due to weeks and weeks of upper-90-degree weather with not much cooling at night.
As long as the roofers would be crawling on the roof, they might as well reseal the spots that were leaking. The estimate was this would cost another $700, which was not accounted for in the insurance adjustor’s check. The roofing repair estimate was almost to the dollar what the insurance company had paid me for roof repairs. I’d have to take that $700 out of some other part of the insurance payment. Then I remembered the adjustor had subtracted a calculated depreciation percentage that would be replaced if we repaired the roof exactly in the matter delineated in our contract. That would be about $700 more. Perfect. We really were in good hands.
God never said we wouldn’t face the results of life’s storms, but He did promise His Presence in the midst of the storms. This June 29, 2012 derecho has allowed us to test the promise, which we have discovered to be perfect through all the remarkable incidents and the available people who have stepped into our lives at the right time exactly when they were needed.
A big storm can shake up our complacencies about our own safety, but it can also convince us of the practical intervention of a God who really cares.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.