This past week, Oregon endured one of the worst winter storms in recent memory. There had been warnings and we felt we were prepared, but nothing could have prepared us for the ice, snow and wind that blew in the early hours just one week ago. We awakened to no power, an experience shared with thousands and thousands of other households in the greater Portland area. Power crews are still working tirelessly to return service even after several days with help from crews as far away as Montana. But the worst of the storm were the layers and layers of ice. It covered the ground like silvery slick mirrors that were too treacherous to walk on. It covered the branches of tall fir trees and bare branches of giant old oaks, maples and other deciduous trees bending from the weight of it.

Some trees were torn in half and jutting at odd angles. Others were completely uprooted and had landed on parked cars flattening them.  The weight of the ice snapped power poles in half bringing down lines everywhere. Once the ice had cleared enough for us to walk outside we could see tree limbs sticking out of the ground like rough fence posts in random angles in the park near our home. Under the weight of all that ice, while the wind blew, huge limbs were hurled like giant javelins straight into the earth below. One I examined, was thrust some seven or eight inches into the ground! We were thankful to have been safely indoors during this storm. It brought back memories of another storm many years ago that could have been deadly for me.

At that time we lived high up on a hill in Oregon City. Our home sat on nearly an acre of wooded property with amazing views of the valley below. We often had wind storms that would bend and sometimes break the branches of the towering fir trees surrounding our home. But one storm proved forever to confirm my understanding of God’s divine intervention and the protection of his own.

It had been a very stormy night and we could see the next morning that branches were scattered everywhere as the wind continued to blow. The awesome power of that wind bent and tore the trees from one direction to the next. As each new branch fell we heard the thumping sounds beating the earth like giant drumsticks. Quickly I jumped into the shower making sure I would have warm water in case the power went out as it sometimes did in these storms. I let  warm water comfort and soothe me. Then suddenly I heard a load crash. I thought one of the boys must have knocked over a bookcase in the bedroom next to our shower. Then I noticed the mud-like plaster at my feet flowing in rivulets down the drain. What on earth was happening? Then I looked over my head. Eighteen inches above me into the fiberglass panel in front of me was a huge wet branch! It was stuck fast from ceiling to the interior shower wall.

A few inches lower and it would have entered the back of my head killing me instantly. Later when my husband examined the roof, the branch had entered the roof in such a way that it had only damaged one or two of the cedar shakes that covered our roof. That was not the extraordinary part to me. I realized how I had been miraculously spared certain injury or death. I pictured one of God’s mighty angels with its wings spread over my head and began to praise the Lord for His protection. Every time the wind blows like that, I am reminded of his love for me and the “angel in the storm.”

For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.” Psalm 91:11