My next-door neighbor was retired Navy and liked to keep everything ship-shape. He always asked me very politely if I would mind if he trimmed the hedgerow between our houses (as if I had the time, talent and inclination to do it myself). I always generously granted him permission, and then both of us were happy.
He approached me one day about a teetering tree in my backyard. It seems that it was teetering toward the roof of his house. “Next big wind, that thing’ll land right on top of my house. You gonna have somebody cut it down?”
“Well, I’ll tell you what, Mr. Dinwiddie, we’ll pray about that and get back to you.”
I won’t tell you the sailor words I heard him muttering as he walked dejectedly back home. That night the children and I prayed about the tree.
The next day several trucks from the city’s electric power company entered our neighborhood. A nice man came to my door and let me know they would be there for a few days. I asked him if they cut down trees. He said, “Only if they are blocking power lines.”
“Well, would you mind looking at a tree in my backyard? It really needs to be cut down.”
He looked at it, but said it didn’t qualify. But if he had time, he could cut it down for $75.
It might as well have been $750.
I gave Mr. Dinwiddie the disappointing news, and, sure enough, he was disappointed. I told him that when I got the $75, I would take care of the tree.
The very next day the power company man was back at my door. It seems they needed access to some hard-to-reach areas, and the double-wide gate and passage through my backyard would allow them to reach them all. “Oh, yeah,” he added. “And we can take down that tree for you for nothin’.”
While they were cutting down the tree, I stood there watching with my neighbor.
“See, Mr. Dinwiddie? God does answer prayer!”
He shook his head and said, “I just don’t understand you people.”
“You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need .” — Philippians 4:19