A grove of oak trees stand in front of our house. The kind that looks perfect with white lights wrapped around the trunk and limbs.
So I took inventory of what lights I had, and I decided that I needed a few more strands. Off I went to Home Depot to get several more boxes of lights. I had chosen a beautiful day to do the work; the kind of day that makes me glad I live in Texas, especially in December. The blue sky was cloudless and high. The temperature was a crisp upper 50’s. Not too cold. Not too hot.
I merrily worked from tree to tree occasionally stepping back to admire my handiwork. I moved to my next to last tree and wrapped the first strand around its wide trunk. Looking at the ground where another box of lights lay, I took a couple of steps toward it, and…WHAM!
I ran headlong into a low hanging branch that sent me stumbling backward and right on my rear end. My hand immediately reached up to my aching, bald head. For those of you who are blessed with hair on your head, you just don’t understand how much that hair protects you.
I sat there feeling foolish and wondering if I had just given myself a concussion. After a few minutes I stood up and slowly made my way into the house to check out the damage. I looked into the bathroom mirror. Sure enough, I looked as if I had run into a tree…or drug upside down along an asphalt street.
I wet an old wash cloth with warm water and pressed against my throbbing head and sat down for a while. After about 30 minutes I went back outside to continue working. I wanted to finish the job and enjoy the beautiful day.
What I haven’t told you is that wasn’t the first time I have run into a low tree branch on our property. Nope. Lucky for me, we have a few oak trees with branches that hang just above my site line yet low enough to crack me in the head if I am not paying attention. I seem to have a habit of looking at the ground when I am walking around our place.
A few days later I thought about running into that blasted tree. The limb isn’t all that large. I wasn’t running either. But it was enough to not only stop me in my tracks, but to also knock me to the seat of my pants. It definitely got my attention.
Has God ever stopped you so suddenly in your tracks that it knocked you down possibly even hurting a little?
The times in my life when I wasn’t paying attention to what I needed to pay attention to, God put something in my path, like a tree branch, that stopped me in my tracks and emphatically got my attention. And nearly every time it hurt. And left a mark.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when God gets my attention like this. In the moment it never seems like a good thing, and I often think it’s unfair.
What does it mean when God knocks us down, even in a way that hurts?
He has shown me two reasons:
- He disciplines those He loves.
- He disciplines those who belong to Him.
This is what I have learned. If I didn’t belong to Him, and if He didn’t love me, He would leave me to my demise. When I think of it like that, I thank Him for knocking me to the seat of my pants to stop me from going down paths that will not only hurt me but could destroy.
If you feel that God is disciplining you or has knocked you down on the seat of your pants, remember that He not only disciplines those He loves, He pursues them. His love is so great for you that He will do whatever He needs to get your attention.
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