Reconciliation Trumped Brokenness Under a Gnarled Old Apple Tree!

Focus 40Day 3

“Be still, and know that I am God” —Psalm 46:10 NIV

During a time of intense struggle and heartache, Sandie and I left town for a few days, to go to a
quiet spot where we could pray, reflect, and seek God’s perspective on the situation. We left after
the morning service to go to a little town on the northern coast of California for time on a lonely
beach in prayer, seeking God’s directions.

Early the next morning, our daughters and we were riding through the beautiful coastal
mountains of California, viewing some of God’s marvelous handiwork. We stopped at a beautiful
roadside park. Before we stopped, we were driving along with the eight-track tape deck playing our
favorite music. The heater was blowing, with an irritating squeak in the fan. We were all talking and

As we pulled into the roadside park and stopped, I turned off the tape player, switched off
the heater with its irritating squeak, turned off the engine, and opened the windows. Sandie said,
“Listen!” When we got absolutely quiet, we could hear the rustle of a gentle breeze through the
treetops, the gurgling of a refreshing stream down the mountainside, and the joyous songs of the
birds flying overhead. As we listened, we became aware of a peaceful, quiet, calm sense of worship,
thankfulness, confidence, and the presence of God cascading over our spirits, minds, and emotions.
Then those words flooded my heart with new assurance: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm
46:10 NIV). Another translation says, “Relax and let go, and know that I am God.” I knew God had
spoken to me and that he would go back with me into the situation where I was struggling. He
would supply answers and resources for healing and restoration. He did! I witnessed God’s miracleworking
power to solve the problem in ways I could never have dreamed possible.

We had a relaxing beachside week. I spent many hours walking the beach, praying and asking
God to protect me from bitterness toward the man who was attacking me and to bring healing,
restoration, and reconciliation to him. He did! Fast-forward a couple of years. It was an awesome
day. At a picnic, I was standing alone under a gnarled old apple tree, being quiet before God, eating
my lunch, when that man stepped under the apple tree beside me and said, with tears in his eyes,
“Pastor, I am so sorry for how I’ve acted toward you. Will you forgive me?” Of course, I did!
Friendship was restored. Trust was renewed. Hearts were healed. That was the day when
reconciliation trumped brokenness under a gnarled old apple tree! And God showed up as…
himself! Now, that’s the power and result of intercessory prayer. I just love gnarled old apple trees.

Lord, thanks for the gnarled old apple tree! Thanks for the power of intercessory prayer that restores friendship, renews trust, heals hearts, and trumps brokenness. Thanks for being you, The Lord Who Is There, always!

– Dr. Sam Bruce, President, Sam & Sandie Bruce Ministries; Pastor, Hope Point Church, Pearl,
Mississippi; Online Instructor, Mid-America Christian University

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