How to walk in His thoughts
I want to walk you through a recent situation in my life to give you an example of how I get the Father’s thoughts on a subject rather than share chapter and verse. Sometimes more can be gleaned from a story.
In our backyard is a large but very dead oak tree. It is tall by Oklahoma standards at about 40′ (12m) with a trunk at the base of about 3′ (1m). Some of the dead branches hang over the swing set our grandchildren play on, and if it fell the wrong way it would fall on the garage and our garden area, so it has to come down.
I thought of hiring a tree service, but their estimate was $1000, so I shifted my attention down inside my spirit to see what the Father thought about it. If He gave me an extra $1000 would I hire them to do the job?
This is the first step of getting His thoughts about an issue in life: Do all you can in the natural, all that is within your power first. I reasoned if I had $1000 to spend on a tree service, I wouldn’t spend that money on it as we are saving towards a remodel for Chris’ room with a handicapped equipped bed and bathroom. So I had to be honest with my own heart and Him, telling Him this: “Father if I had the $1000 I’d spend it on the remodel, not on future fire wood, so don’t bother, and you know I like cutting trees anyway.”
In the interest of full disclosure, cutting down trees and cutting up firewood is something I really enjoy. In fact we have a rule around the house that Barb be present when I prune any tree – that goes back to early in our marriage and a tree that was so overgrown it looked like a 1968 hippie from San Francisco, but when I was done it looked like a new Marine recruit. Barb was horrified, I replied ‘It will grow back’, and the ‘Barb will be present when pruning’ rule went into affect from that day forward.
So, what do you think?
I asked Him – “What do you think about that? Will you guide me to bring it down safely with no damage to me or anything else?” I didn’t hear anything, but I didn’t sense a ‘check’ or ‘hold’ or ‘grievance’ down in my spirit either, and I’ve walked with Him enough to know that means proceed using common sense. I’m praying in the spirit/Spirit as I do all this, keeping ‘the motor running’ so to speak as I commune with Him, my mind focused on anything in my spirit.
So with the choice of hiring it done removed, and no direct word from Him not to, I began seeking the Father as to how I might bring it down.
As you can see by the fresh cuts in the photo there are (were) 3 large branches on the house side and the rest of the branches on the other side. I have prayed about that tree for months, keeping it on ‘simmer’ in my mind and spirit, looking at it and saying, “Let me know your thoughts Father about taking down the tree.” and “Let me know the day you have determined for me to cut that tree down safely.”
Thoughts of ‘Is my life insurance enough for Barb if I die doing this?’ went through my mind, along with ‘what if’ scenarios – What if it falls on the garage. What if it falls on the garden area. What if Barb plays filmmaker, hovering in the background narrating a ‘Here is John cutting down that big tree’ movie for all to see. All sorts of things passed through my mind, trying to figure every angle, every possible scenario, and if any of those scenarios gave off a ‘witness’ in my spirit good or bad, I’d stop and examine why – but I got nothing – so I knew to use my own judgement and moved forward with confidence.
I also told the Father I didn’t want to cut it down if the temperature was below freezing, as equipment works better when warmer, and I didn’t want to deal with myself being cold, and I needed no wind – so I asked Him to pick a calm day when it was at least 50 degrees (10c).
Months have passed at this point
I focused on my spirit by trying to sense any thoughts He may have had, but I got nothing, just silence. So I knew to wait for the right day, until it felt right (peace) in my spirit.
Often He is silent because He has no particular thoughts on a matter if the answer is before us and we know what we need to do in the natural – even if that is a difficult decision. I’ve seen people put off doctor’s, business deals, bills and other painful things because they can’t get a single thought out of the Father, not realizing that usually means we are to do what we need to do in the natural, walking with Him making point by point decisions together as we go. Sometimes we are too eager, as I was here, and have to wait.
To the tree
Mentally I worked through the order in which I’d cut the tree and what equipment I would use at each step. Finally I saw the weather forecast, sensed in my spirit the day was approaching, and had peace about it.
I had to move the swing set the grandchildren play on when they visit, which I did, then I started work on the branches. The first 2 came down where I wanted them, and now I set my eyes on the uppermost branch.
I have an electric pole saw with a 9 inch chain bar (23cm) on the end of a 9′ (3m) pole. I am 6’6″ tall (2m) and I put a ladder against the tree which I climbed up about 6′ (1.8m). Just so you understand – I’m 6′ up the ladder, extending my body and arms fully, while holding a pole saw to the upper branch you can see in the ‘after’ picture – some 20′ (6.5m) off the ground.
Barb pretended to focus on planting her flower bulbs, but out of the corner of my eye, I could see she was playing documentary filmmaker as well, which if you knew her, is completely normal for her to document everything. This is great when everything works like clockwork, but that wasn’t the case that day. Aren’t I glad she got it all on video!? lol.
The branch was nearly 1′ (30cm) around, and the pole saw was about 2/3 of that. So I cut through part of it, but I would have to move the ladder to the other side of the tree (pictured) and try to cut through the rest of the way from there.
As I was cutting the branch it sagged a bit, squeezing the saw as the full weight of the branch closed the gap I had cut. And there it hung, 20′ above the ground. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve had chain saws get pinched like that before when cutting trees – but usually you can either work the saw out or insert a wedge to force the gap open a bit – but this was 20′ above the ground so there was no way to remove the saw.
It was 5pm, the sun was low and so was my energy. I knew accidents happen when a person gets tired and grumpy and I was both at this point. So I said, “That’s it!” I’m done for the day. I said, “Father, I’ve done all I can do and now my saw is hanging 20′ above the ground. You’ll just have to bring the branch down because I’ve done all I can do. Thanks.” And that was that.
It was funny to look out the window and see the saw stuck in the branch in the setting sun (and thanks to Barb we have the video to prove it), with the pole dangling it’s full 9′ length but still some 10′ above the ground. Barb asked, ‘How are you going to get it out?’ I said, “I don’t know, that’s the Father’s business. I’ll pray about it and see if He has a solution for me, but right now I’m taking a shower.”
Flash forward 5 hours to a little before 10pm. I’m in bed reading while Barb is in the living room doing the same – every muscle in my body ached from the day’s activities and I was about to turn out the light. Suddenly a rushing wind could be heard outside, and twigs and acorns began hitting the side of the house just on the other side of the headboard. Instantly we heard a loud CRACK and the sound of a crash. Barb yelled out, “I think there went your branch!” I said, “Yep, I guess that’s how the Father decided He was going to get my saw unstuck – He brought it down Himself.”
At first light I surveyed the scene: There lay the branch exactly where I had intended it to fall, and my saw laying next to it as if I had absent mindedly laid it down the night before and walked off – it wasn’t even banged up by the fall. “Thanks Father, now let me know when it’s time to bring the whole tree down.” And the tree stands to this writing, waiting for the Father’s day to bring the rest of it down.
Hope my story was a blessing and insightful,