So recently I posted about trying to understand God’s providence. Shortly after that post, I learned about God’s providence first hand. Though it’s a small thing, it still helped me better understand how God sometimes moves in the smaller parts of life.
Recently, we went camping in the Hills (when people mention “the Hills” in South Dakota we’re referring to the Black Hills on the western part of the state) and had an interesting experience. The Hills are gorgeous and the scenery breathtaking. The hillsides covered with blackish rocks had Ponderosa pines jutting up and out of each cranny and crook. Life abounded every which way from squirrels to bison to antelope and wild donkeys. The sky was a deep bright magnificent blue dotted with the puffy clouds where you can find odd shaped animals disguised in them. And my family and I enjoyed camping out in the woods. Well, technically, it was a camp ground in Custer State Park but it was a nice wooded campsite.
Our first day and night were nice and warm. It felt good to wake up to the sun shining and the birds singing. It was good to wake up to the smell of pine trees. It was good to wake up and hear nothing but the sounds of the crows cawing. The day itself was wonderful. We took the Iron Mountain Road which twisted and turned through the Hills. We stopped and took pictures of the mountain views. Off in the distance we saw the heads of Mount Rushmore.
I pointed out the heads to my two kids and from then on out my three year-old kept referring to the Heads. She kept asking “When’re we gonna see the heads?” We spent the afternoon driving the road and then spending time at the Mount Rushmore Memorial. A great day all together.
So what about God’s providence?
I’m getting to that.
Later in the day, the weather started getting rough. The wind began to blow. The clouds started getting dark. And by sixish it began to thunder. By 7ish it started to sprinkle and the lightening flashed and the thunder crashed. By 8 it was raining and by 9 we were huddled in the tent the lightening and thunder going at full force and my kids watching an episode of Avatar: The Last Air Bender on my phone. Shortly after that, everyone but me was asleep.
Which was good.
The wind began to blow and howl more than before. The tent began to wobble and shake. And then it began to buckle. I warm in my sleeping bag shifted upwards and pushed back against the wind with all my might against the side of the tent. And then the side close to my head began to buckle. So I pushed back with my other hand, holding the tent together.
And then I heard it. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. It began to hail. And hail. And hail. Thunk. Thud. Thump. I heard it hit the car. Please, O Lord, I prayed, please let us get through this. I could see the light of the lightening as I lay looking up to the top of the tent. I stopped counting because it thundered before I got to 1. The tent wooshed back and forth. I felt the parts of it lift up underneath me. I held up my hands, pushing back at the wind as hard as I could. The hail stones hitting my hands.
And this is where I thought of Lord’s Day 10. Leaf and Blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years all come from His fatherly hand. Well, this is a good how-do-you-do. Why in the bejeebers would I think of this at this time. I kept telling myself to be patient when things went against me…like when hail hit my hand.
I’m not sure exactly how long it lasted. From time to time I checked the weather on my phone, watching the orange and red pass over the blue dot that represented where we were. At other times I just pushed back as hard as I could. I was tired. I was worn. Finally, it was over. But I still couldn’t sleep.
I woke up sometime around five. I assessed the damage. Some tears here and there, the tent pegs up out of the ground (someone forgot to bring the mallet and that someone’s wife had to borrow one when we first came and set up the tent and now at 5am I didn’t want to wake someone up to borrow another mallet to hammer in the tent pegs).
That morning, after breakfast, I made the decision to pack up camp and head home.
I’m glad I did.
After we drove through the Needles Highway (a gorgeous drive through the Hills) we headed home. About 100 miles from home, we stopped at a rest stop to stretch our legs. It was then that I noticed our tires were starting to go bald. I shudder now to think what predicament we might have gotten in if we had stayed longer or drove the Needles Highway at another time. Where would we have gotten stuck with a blown tire.
If it hadn’t’ve hailed, we wouldn’t’ve left when we did. And if we hadn’t left when we did, who knows what would have happened.
Now, you can say that this is a coincidence, that God didn’t make it hail just so that we would be safe. But the providence of God was in action. He allowed his creation to do what it did. It did it’s thing. And out of that, he used what the weather was already going to do, to help us.
God uses His creation for His purposes. He gives to us what we need even when it hurts at first. I didn’t like the hail coming but because of the bad experience we were saved from something that could’ve been worse.