That old oak in the forest is one of the noblest works of God. Look at it bursting into full leaf, bearing well its verdant honors, and making a picture worthy of the artist’s rarest skill. What are these dry pieces of wood that strew the ground beneath it? What are these large branches that rot under its shade? It is needless to ask, for we all know that they fell from the tree during winter’s storms. Is it a cause of regret for the sake of the tree that those rotten branches were broken off? It may be a lamentation as far as concerns the broken boughs, but the tree itself would have never been so healthy and never looked so complete if the rotten branches had been allowed to remain. When the hurricane came howling through the woods, the old tree shivered in the gale and mourned as it heard the cracking of its boughs. Yet now it is thankful because the sound healthy branches with sap and life in them are all there, and the withered ones no longer encumber the trunk.
I do not think times of storm to a church are in the long run to be regretted; a calm is much more dangerous.