Pastor Lafferty in one of his Sunday sermons shared the following story, which I am going to share along with pictures, because his illustration worked so well. Pastor Lafferty is a ham radio operator. In order to get on the air, he strung a wire behind the Rectory between two trees as an antenna. Recently there was a LOT of wind, but the wire was strong and did not break the wire. But a tree branch fell down and landed on the wire and the weight of the tree limb was more that the wire could bear and down it came. Pastor Lafferty noticed that this branch that came down had ivy growing on it. In that moment he realized he had a sermon illustration.
So here we go! The picture above illustrates a tree like the one that Pastor Lafferty hooked his antenna to.The only difference being that the tree above has leaves.The ivy is on one side of the tree. The little green line running down the side of the tree is the ivy. Now imagine that the wind is blowing, but it is hitting the tree on the side opposite where the ivy clings to the tree. In this instance, the tree is protecting the ivy. This is much like the situation, whereGod is protecting us.
God protected the Israelites on a regular basis. You may recall how he brought plagues on the Egyptians to convince Pharaoh to let the Hebrews leave. Likewise, in the New Testament, Paul was whipped, stoned, bitten by a snake, almost drowned, and yet never killed until God wanted to bring him to Heaven. Sometimes however, God is not protecting us. In this case, the wind blows right at us and the tree is NOT protecting us. You may ask, “What happens then?” The ivy, due to the wind pressure, is pushed into the tree. What this means for you and me, is that when difficulties arise, we too are pushed into God.
This means we are being nudged either forcefully or even strongly to get closer to God. We can do that by reading the Bible. We can do that praying or being prayed over. We can do that by staying in the community of other Christians. So that you know that the Bible is always an excellent place to find inspiration to lean further into God, here is a good verse. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.