Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
I was walking home from a nearby grocery store one evening when I noticed a great tree limb from next door was no longer hanging above my tree. Its branches were now entangled with the branches of my tree. Either that huge branch was coming down or my tree had a phenomenal growth spurt.
The previous Sunday a big tree limb fell on the electric lines over the house across the street. It was the day of the booming explosions and the fireballs directly over that neighbor's roof.
He was fortunate. His compost heap caught fire but his roof did not. The event did knock out all the power in the extended neighborhood. It was the final day of the Fire Department's boot drive and there were two firemen and a fire truck less than a block away. It did not take long for the fire truck to arrive or for the electric company to follow.
If the large branch from the tree next door snapped, it could do extensive damage. The power lines to my meter run through my tree branches. The tree is too close to the house. Besides terrorizing the neighborhood, a close-up performance of that weekend’s fireworks could set my tree on fire and I would be able to barbecue hot dogs on the roof.
This experience reminded me of how blind we can be to sin, not realizing its branches are enveloping us. We listen to gossip and repeat it. We ask a child to tell someone we aren’t home and then confuse the issue by telling the child that lying is wrong – except when mommy or daddy gives permission. We adopt pets and then take them to the pound when they outgrow the “cute stage” or become an inconvenience. And then we wonder why our children cart us off to nursing homes when we become an inconvenience to them.
It seemed reasonable to assume the electric company might prefer helping me now to repairing any emergency damage to their lines later. I called them and was assured they would. They were here within the hour, even though it was well past sundown. They checked the trees and lopped off the offending branches.
God is also amenable to helping us before we have an emergency situation. He will disentangle us from the branches of sin if we call on Him in prayer.