Earlier this year, a severe storm rolled through our area, pounding homes with chunks of hail. We were later told that parts of our neighborhood had been declared “hail damage zones” and that we might qualify for a new roof, compliments of our homeowners insurance.
All around us, neighbors were getting new hats on their homes. This included those who lived right next door and directly behind us. Naturally, my husband and I fully expected to qualify.
“No, it looks like your roof escaped any damage,” an inspector from the State Farm Catastrophe Team informed us. An independent roofer seconded the opinion.
We were kind of bummed over this news. Our roof will need replacing in the not-so-distant future, and getting a freebie would’ve been nice. The big question, though, was this: how could we have not sustained hail damage when everyone around us had gotten slammed? Was there some kind of protective shield hovering above us?
Well, actually there was—in a way. Our neighbors on the right have a couple of towering trees in their yard. Because of the direction in which the storm moved, those trees diverted hail away from our roof.
Thanks a lot, Mr. Mighty Oak.
This was one of those rare instances where we might have appreciated a lack of protection. The key word is rare because people usually view protection as a blessing. I bet we don’t even realize just how much protection we’ve received throughout our lives—how many “by the grace of God, there go I “ moments have occurred as we bop about in total oblivion.
When it’s all said and done, and if God shows us a video of our days on earth, we’ll probably be stunned at how many close calls we’ve had. Of course, we’re aware of many near misses, as my family was the day a neighbor lost control of his Ford Excursion and drove it into our house. (There was no way insurance could say we hadn’t sustained damage on that one.) My husband, sons and I were in different parts of the house when this unexpected drop-in occurred, and the fact that nobody was injured is a miracle.
It’s easy to fall to our knees in gratitude when it’s obvious we’ve been spared injury, but what about the ordinary, uneventful days when unseen protection might have kept us from harm? When the day ends, and we’re sitting safely around the dinner table with our loved ones, do we thank God for that gift?
Countless times I’ve asked God to protect me and my family, especially when traveling. Yet, when we reached our destination, I’d be so occupied with settling in that I didn’t take time to say “thanks.” I didn’t even offer a nod of appreciation to God for protecting me as I zigzagged through a maze of tractor trailers, plus a battalion of other vehicles manned by drivers sending text messages, , fiddling with the radio, cleaning up spilt coffee, talking to someone in the back seat or panicking over the bee that flew in the window.
Does God notice this lack of gratitude? I think He does, being a God Who sees and cares about every detail of our lives, a fact that is beautifully expressed in Psalm 56:8: “You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records?” (HCSB)
We’re also instructed to thank God in all circumstances ((1 Thessalonians 5:18)—but do we? In a day where getting good parking at the mall can be life threatening, do we offer thanks every time we pull safely into our driveway? Every time we see our children bound happily from the school bus? The harsh reality is that life as we know it can change in an instant—do we thank God every day that ours isn’t altered?
Jesus certainly noticed what ingrates people can be. In Luke 17, we read that Jesus healed 10 men from leprosy, but only one--a Samaritan--bothered to say thanks. This prompted Jesus to ask, “’Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’” (Luke 17: 17-18 NIV)
Let’s count our blessings every day and give God the thanks He is due. Let’s especially thank Him for Jesus, Whose blood diverts our souls from Hell.