Terry likes her flowers. It is not a sophisticated collection, but the blooms she gets and the plants she raises make her heart smile, she says.
She takes care of things a little bit at a time most every day. Some spraying one day. Some weed pulling another day. It makes her dizzy to stay bent over too long pulling weeds, which puts this account into certain perspective.
The other day she was determined to give attention to her flowers located under the window in the front of the house. There was a small tree growing in the midst of the patch that particularly concerned her. A couple of times she had urged me to take time to pull it out, but I had not gotten around to doing it for her.
Those of you who know where we live are familiar with the steep front yard that we have. On several occasions there have been incidents when we have accidentally allowed items to roll out into the road, including a couple of times myself on my four-wheeler. Tires, wheels, and water heaters have rolled down the hill out into the road. Micaiah once descended uncontrollably the drive on his bike, and nearly went out in front of a big rig, not to mention basketballs that have gotten loose. Previously, I have given fair warning that you need to be careful when passing our house because of what may roll out in front of you from our yard.
It was a stubborn little tree that Terry tried to pull out. Its little roots were snuggly rooted in the dirt. But, it was a nuisance to Terry, and she was determined to pull the little booger out of her flowers. She prayerfully applied for the Lord’s help as she strained hard, “Lord, let me pull this little tree out.”
Working two feet from the edge of down, she was applying the full torque of her weight when it finally decided to let go — which threw Terry for a loop. Her feet flew up and over her shoulders, and down the hill she went. Hitting the ground full-bodied once, the downhill momentum popped her to her feet, and she began to do a running tip-toe down the hill.
Past the locust stump she tripped. At that point, it was not far to the final plunge over the end of the hill into our reedy ditch and out into the road. Seeing it coming, she had presence of mind enough to not to want to wind up in the road. So, as she said, she somehow did a rolling flip-and-flop to the ground, sliding into a halted heap.
It happened, oh, so quickly, she said. She got scratched up on her legs and arms. Bruising has since surfaced but she incurred no broken bones. At the end of the slide, she started praying, “Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!” In all, I think it was the most athletic she has been for many years. I am impressed.
Sometimes it causes me to pause and contemplate the things that happen to God’s people. Sometimes each of us gets rolled in our life experiences. Sometimes it is funny. Sometimes it is very serious. For example, consider the extensive flooding recently in West Virginia. The niece of one of our West Virginia Southern Baptist pastors at White Sulphur Springs was swept away in the waters. Christian churches were lost in the flooding. Homes and properties of Christians were rolled over by raging flood waters.
According to Apostle Peter, sometimes bad things happen to God’s people. We are not exempted from experiences that roll us. Sometimes the torque of trying to do good for God seems to work against us and throws us for an unexpected loop.
But, in every circumstance, God expects us to keep on having faith in Him. He will help us get up and walk back up the hill. He will bring healing to our hurts and wounds in due course.
If Terry was not the age she is, I would encourage her to try out for the Olympics as a gymnast. Apparently, she flips real good.
In the meantime, y’all be real careful when driving by our house.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.