I have a friend who had a car accident last week, sliding off a curvy, snow/ice-covered road. I’m grateful that her injury was a sprained hand and nothing broken. Here are her words to describe the incident, “I started down the hill in my normal fashion. My car picked up speed. Even putting on the brakes wasn’t enough as it made things worse. I slammed into an aspen. The tree didn’t budge . . .”
As I read this report, my first response was relief that she wasn’t injured more seriously. But then my mind immediately visualized the aspen tree. Just a normal tree that had been planted by the side of the road that most likely had never had a second glance by anyone. It was just an aspen; pretty to look at but not very important. Yet, in God’s world, I have to wonder if that aspen had a purpose beyond mere existence last week. Could it be possible that our Creator used a simple aspen to protect one of his children?
Here’s my analogy: If our marriage feels like it’s sliding down a slippery slope and we’ve applied the “brakes” (our own strength to control) which makes things worse, can God provide an “aspen” to avoid a fatal crash? Are there aspens all along our journey that we have considered unimportant and yet those are the very means of preventing a fall? Perhaps our aspen is intentional time together, or encouragement, or worship, or scripture. These are strongholds that can be the “tree didn’t budge” when we are anchored by them. They are readily available, accessible and yet often ignored as just another tree.
God has many aspens along our journey. After all, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:2). He can save us when we are sliding out of control by what he has already put into place. He calls and he gives. His power comes through our knowledge of him. And for what purpose? His glory and goodness.