Camping is a big part of our family’s yearly vacations. We’ve been camping consistently for years, and we always make at least one camping trip to Okanagan Lake every summer. Nothing beats the dry Okanagan heat and camping right on the lake!

If you have any experience camping in the Okanagan during the summer, you know that freak storms can roll through at random. Sometimes rain, rarely lightning, but always a lot of wind.

Flapping and Falling

One of these storms came through last summer. We were sitting around a propane fire pit when the storm started and almost blew out our fire! We decided it was time to call it a night and went to bed in our “new to us” trailer.

I was lying there in my bed, hearing branches and pinecones falling around us and on the roof of the trailer. I was watching the awning of the trailer, trying to decide if I should get up and roll it in.

It was just flapping in the “breeze,” the winds were clearly higher up in the trees…what could go wrong?

As I was looking out the trailer window, I saw what I thought was a branch falling from a tree. What became quickly apparent was that branch was still firmly attached to the tree and I watched as a giant cottonwood tree came crashing down onto our campsite.

I’ll never forget watching that tree come crashing down right beside our trailer. It crushed the campsite picnic table and our canopy over it.

The tree missed our trailer’s awning and pick-up truck by a few feet. God’s creation is big and mighty!

I’m reminded of several things as I reflect on that one in a million night (at least I hope it’s one in a million!):

1. Community is a gift from God.

We were camping with a few friends and after a short text in the middle of the night, extra hands were there digging bikes out from underneath the tree, rolling in my awning, and moving camping equipment out of the way. In no time at all, we were as “tree proof” as we could be.

2. God provided in the storm. Literally.

I gave my family a few options for the rest of the night, but the only one they were willing to consider was sleeping on the floor in my sister’s condo in Kelowna. My family was really shaken up by it all, and to put our heads down, with a sense of safety and peace, was such a blessing. The storm raged on for a few more hours, but we were asleep, safe and sound.

3. God blesses everyone with different gifts.

When we arrived back at the campsite the next day, we were popular!

It was quite the sight (or site?) to behold. Arborists were brought in and dismantled the tree. I’m totally useless when it comes to hands-on things…and to watch these guys cut this tree apart with surgical precision was just amazing. Not only that, but they determined that the cottonwood tree next to the one that fell was also a hazard.

I moved my trailer so they could cut that tree down as well. It was just amazing to watch one guy point and another guy who was up in the bucket truck drop chunks of the tree right where he pointed.

I was amazed at the various gifts God has blessed people with.

4. God provided us with a place of refuge.

We had the safest campsite in the campground after the arborists were done!

That is a night we soon won’t forget, but I will be forever reminded of how God provides through the figurative and literal storms of life. I’m sure this summer, as a storm will inevitably blow through again, I’ll be comforted by this story, not live in fear of it.

When a tree falls in the campground does anyone hear it? Depends on if you’re sleeping or not! 😉