The Spiritual Vignette is a short sketch of an encounter with God, often in a surprising, always lasting, way.

Next to my childhood home there stood a thirty-foot ash tree that had been there since we moved into the house. It was always the first thing that I saw when I came back from school each day and, as I grew up, seeing the tree became a signal for me, telling me that I was home.

The summer after my high school graduation, a powerful thunderstorm swept through my hometown.

When the storm hit us, I was hanging out with my best friend and my little sister. We hid downstairs the whole time. As we listened to the trees fall outside and the thunder boom above us, I prayed for our safety.

After the storm had passed, we went outside. We found that our neighborhood had been hit by a microburst. The wind had created a path throughout the nearby woods of fallen trees.

One of these trees had been the ash tree that I had come to love.

The amazing part was that when the tree fell, it fell away from the house. Barely ten feet away, the tree could have demolished our home, had it hit. It was that large. And if it would have hit the house, I am not sure that my friend, my sister, and I would have made it out safely. But instead, the storm had pushed the tree over in a way so that it hit trees deeper into the woods.

I learned later that the tree had been afflicted with emerald ash borers. It would have fallen soon anyway, maybe even fallen on the house if it hadn’t gone down in the storm.

That event showed me that I didn’t need to be scared for my future. By pushing the dying tree away from my house, God showed me that he would protect me and my family. God kept me from disaster, and whenever I’m in a situation that scares me, I remember that storm and think that God is already taking care of problems I may not even know are there.