Thousands Fell All Around Me
That night a terrible storm blew down, or broke off, thousands of trees around me as I was camping in a tent. And even though my tent eventually blew down I was able to get out from under it. Later, as I was hiding from the howling and screaming wind behind a tree the force of the wind even snapped that huge tree as if it was a small branch.
But I guess I should go back to the beginning of my story.
Earlier, my wife and I, plus an older couple had been traveling together in a motor home pulling a pickup truck. We had found a campground beside the Peace River that belonged to the city of Hudson Hope, in northern British Columbia, Canada. The four of us sat beside our campfire reading and enjoying a beautiful summer evening. My mind was filled with gratitude and thankfulness to God for a safe trip and for bringing us to such a beautiful, pleasant place to camp and rest on the Lord’s Day.
I sat reading for quite some time. Then later I walked down the river to a nice secluded spot close to the roaring stream. I had checked it out earlier and decided it would be an ideal place to go and be alone to pray. After I had spent some time talking with my heavenly Father, I ended by rededicating my life to Him. I told Him, “I am willing for you to have your way in my life in all things. I choose to do nothing in any line that would displease You. I also choose to leave nothing undone that You want me to do. I place myself in Your hands for tonight.”
When I finished praying, I went back into camp. Since it was about 11:00 pm, I doused the camp fire and went into my tent, which I had set up beside our motor home choosing to sleep in it rather than sleep inside. I put on my pajamas, crawled into my sleeping bag and was soon sleeping peacefully.
A little after midnight I was awakened by a violent shaking of my tent. A very strong windstorm had come up and was shaking the tent so fiercely I thought the tent might collapse on me at any moment. I zipped open a window and looked out into the semi darkness. I was amazed at how the wind was whipping the trees around, but remembering I had placed myself in God’s hands I closed the window and breathed another silent prayer. I told myself, “I’m in Gods care. I’m going to let Him take care of the storm.” I lay down in my sleeping bag again and was soon fast asleep. I must have slept only a few minutes though before being awakened again. This time the tent was being shaken so violently I was sure it could not stay up long and I really didn’t want to be in it when it came down.
As I reached out to unzip the first of three doors, it happened. The tent pins on the windward side gave way and that side of the tent and the floor came over me. This put the three zippered doors on the ground with me trying to find them in the dark and get them open so I could get out. And during all this time the wind was whipping the tent around wildly.
When I finally made it out from under the tent I had to grab an edge of the tent and hang on to it. The wind had restarted my campfire and was about to blow my tent into the fire. Our pickup was parked where if the tent went in the fire it would then be blown into the front of the pickup and because my sleeping bag and clothes were also in the tent I would have had a huge fire. So I could not let go of the tent.
From the way the trees were being whipped round I knew any of them could come crashing down at any moment. There was one big spruce tree near me, behind which I could take shelter. So, dragging the tent, I took refuge behind this large tree. As I stood there holding onto the tent, somewhat protected from the storm, there was a sudden loud noise somewhat like a bomb exploding. I thought the wind had just snapped the trunk of the tree I was standing behind. That gust of wind let up just as I looked up to see whether it was my tree and what direction it was falling. In the darkness I couldn’t really see much, but my tree was still upright and looked good. I decided I should hang onto the tent with my right hand and lean against the tree with the left. This way if the wind should blow the tree down, I would be able to tell which way it was falling. I had to wait only a few seconds for that next gust of wind. The force of this ferocious windstorm was just too much for this great tree. I heard the exploding tree trunk and felt it coming my way so I stepped out of the way as that giant tree came crashing down beside me. It crushed my picnic table but I was not hurt. (I examined the tree the next morning in the daylight and determined that the tree was perfectly healthy, 6 feet around, about 24” through the middle and 100’ tall.)
Fortunately the most violent portion of the storm only lasted about an hour, but it left behind many thousands of trees in our area broken off or blown up by the roots. In some areas the storm had leveled more than 90% of the trees of the forest. We counted nine large trees down just in our campsite alone.
When the storm was completely over, I took my flashlight and went around the campground to see whether there was anyone who needed help. There were only two other campers in the campground. One suffered no damage as far as I could tell. These people apparently left and sought shelter elsewhere during the storm. I saw no one that night and they were gone by the time I got up and out the next morning. However, the travel trailer in the campsite closest to us did not fare so well. There were three medium size trees down on their trailer, which at the very least must have knocked holes in their roof. I didn’t see the people and I supposed they left during the storm. By the time I awoke the next morning that trailer was gone, so I didn’t have a chance to see the extent of the damage or hear their story.
We know God was looking out for us and our property. In fact, the only damage we found was a small tear in my tent where a small limb had gone through, but I did not even have a scratch. Even though several trees had been blown down in our camping spot, not one touched the motor home. One of those trees was even lying less than two feet away from the motor home, but it had fallen parallel to where my friends and wife slept. How thankful we all were to know that we were under God’s care and that He never sleeps and nothing takes Him by surprise.
“A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” Psalms 91:7
“The Angel of the Lord camps around those who fear Him and delivers them.” Psalms 34:7
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me...” Psalms 23:4