“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Early Sunday morning, Greg and I were awakened to a boom that shook our house. As he looked out the window, I heard an “oh no!” There was a tone in his voice I’d never heard before. I knew something was wrong. On the opposite side of the New River sat our family friend’s home, fully engulfed in flames. I assumed the fire was a result of the loud noise we heard and I went into full panic mode, dialing 911, thinking he was still inside. A very long 3 or 4 minutes later, I found out that the fire had actually created the boom and our friend has escaped several minutes before, when the fire began.
Sunday afternoon, we joined in the clean up effort. He lost most everything with the exception of his treasured coin collection that we dug from the rubble a piece at a time. Not of all it survived the heat but it was important to him so we dug for hours, finding what we could, and cleaned up everything else that remained.
When something like this happens, we often question God’s presence in such a tragedy. The whys and what ifs come to mind but as our friend said “If there is nothing I can do to change it, then I just have to move on and accept it”. I admire that.
God’s love and care for us are not absent in a tragedy. While we may not understand it, sometimes we aren’t meant to. God is the all-knowing. We cannot possibly understand this because God is infinite and we are not. Maybe it is a test. Maybe God changes our circumstance because the outcome will change someone else. Maybe work is to be done elsewhere. This may be revealed and sometimes it may not. This is where giant leaps of faith have to be made.
Romans 8:28 says “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I know that God was indeed there yesterday. He awakened our friend so that he could escape without harm. God was in the volunteers who gave up a beautiful, warm Sunday afternoon to help sift through the remains of someone’s tangible life. He was in the little hints that were left behind. The bible that was burned on the edges but every page still left a crisp white. The photo of our friend that the fire had burned a complete circle around but left his entire image unharmed. Then there was the piece of charred wood that I pulled out that resembled a perfect cross.
We worked until the sun was setting and the compassion and concern were fully visible among everyone. As we returned home yesterday, we were covered head to toe in black, smelling of smoke and completely exhausted but I felt a peace within me.
Another sign that God was there.