Knowing That God Really Cares About You

I’ve been helping my friend Gene prune some of the trees around his place. He’s got a two-story house along a quiet country road, with twenty acres of pasture and trees behind it. It’s been even quieter since his wife died last year, following a seventeen-year hemorrhage. That’s five years longer than the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak and was instantly healed. Gene prayed for healing for his wife and God answered with a quiet “not now, my son.” So that’s why things got so overgrown around Gene’s place; he hardly ever left her side except to come to church.
Gene is in his eighties but you wouldn’t know it. He has more hair on his head than I do (which isn’t saying much) and I don’t think he has an ounce of fat on his frame. Probably because you’ll often see him busy working outside, pruning what he can reach, trimming and mowing. The bigger stuff that I’ve cut, he lets me keep—for our wood stove. The rest, he puts in his electric chipper as mulch for the planting beds around his house.
He built this house forty years ago, after their first house burned down. I’ve always thought how tragic that would be—to lose everything you owned. All the personal things, your kids’ toys and pictures, the books you’ve treasured, business and personal records, heirlooms handed down from generations … and then having to start over with nothing but you and your family and God.
But that’s exactly what Gene did. Just them and God Himself. As Gene would say, “you move on.” I’ve never heard Gene complain about his lot in life. In fact, he’s pretty upbeat. A private person, to be sure, but not as down as you might expect him to be. You see, he’s lost more than his wife … more than his house. Their first child died very young; another son died in his forties when his medical condition was misdiagnosed someplace in Alaska. A third son was taken away several years ago; sentenced for a crime that Gene said he didn’t commit. But he’s still gone, guilty or not.
Through it all, Gene will tell you that he abides in God’s Word. He believes God’s promises; that the Lord will take him through whatever happens, “because He has already.”
This week, Gene and I will work to prune back a gangly wild cherry tree that droops toward the side of his house. It must be 50’ tall. Not an easy project but if we get a cable up high enough, it won’t bash the house when I cut it back. I’ll tie myself off so when that 10” branch breaks loose, the kick-back won’t knock me off the ladder. If we can’t do it safely, we won’t do it.
I’ll let you know how it went. Mostly, I’m anxious to hear Gene’s insights on what he’s reading in the Word. He believes that whatever happens, God knows and cares, and He will provide.


About samuelehall

A follower of Jesus, husband, father of 3 adult children, writer and learner.
This entry was posted in Tackling Fears and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Knowing That God Really Cares About You

  1. Wow! You and your friends are intrepid. Thirty countries and a cherry tree. Sounds like a good opening to another article.

  2. Lindy Swanson says:

    Nice story Sam. I’d love to see a photo of Gene included with this, as well as pictures of the two of you working together, and of the fifty foot cherry tree you intend to tackle. I just hope we don’t see a picture of you laid up in the hospital with a broken leg. It would make for an interesting story, but we really don’t want one at that expense.I agree with your wife. : )

  3. Stan Baldwin says:

    Oh, do be CAREFUL cutting that tree. An intrinsically dangerous task. Being hit with a ten-inch branch is like being clubbed with a ten-inch club. Remember, you are worth far more than the tree and the whole ranch. I speak as a man who foolishly broke his back a few years ago.

    • samuelehall says:

      Thank you, Brother, for your words and your concern. That’s a quadruple warning as I’ve also had friends (plus my wife tell me!) email me that I’m, uh, too old for this crazy stuff.
      BTW, Stan, I’m sorry you broke your back! I didn’t know that. I’m so glad you recovered.

  4. Julia Sumrall says:

    Such an inspiration. Makes the smaller things in life seem to insignificant. God bless him.

    • samuelehall says:

      Glad you’re back, Julia Faye. Gene is a giving guy but doesn’t need much from others. He’s a homebody, which is fine. I asked him out for coffee but *$ didn’t appeal to him.

  5. I hope someday I have life figured out as well as Gene seems to. Good luck with the tree!

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