The engines roared into our quiet close-knit community, sirens blaring and lights flashing. The dark night was ablaze with fire coming from our neighbors house, people who are more than neighbors. They are my family. My near kin.
“Oh Jesus!” was all I could say, all I could pray. Over and over, it was a moan of desperation in a desperate situation.
Neighbors and friends came out of warm cozy houses and family celebrations, not knowing what to do, only lending their presence. And when the sky falls what is there to do but huddle close, be there to hold onto and cry with, to pray for grace and mercy in a night of horror?
Our thankful prayer was that all souls were safe, unharmed, spared the smoke inhalation and burning.
Christmas Day suddenly became something different for us.
“Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.”
We watched from a distance, as firefighters risked life and limb to try to salvage what was so far gone, to put out flames that burned hot and ferocious. They did what they were trained to do. All we could do was stand back and let them.
Gathered at the closest house, we sat on the deck in the cold night, tears streaming down wondering how and why and what to do next. Silent prayers echoed in our hearts.
But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.”
And yet, underneath are the everlasting arms of a God who knows all. I don’t understand His ways, but I know that He is wise beyond me. We know that His mercy is plentiful and His grace is sufficient. His love endures when nothing else will.
Late into the night people part, go to their own places of sleep. I tell Sweet William that I almost feel guilty for having a home and bed tonight. What we count as treasures, what we invest our time and money and very lives into can be gone in a breath. And what do we have left? What can we count on?
” I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.”
We lock our doors and feel secure. We set our house alarms and expect safety. We drive on the highway observing the traffic laws and don’t know for sure if we will return home whole.
There is no security in this life. None. Zero.
God is all we have. God is all we need.
“Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.”
When there is faith in a God who cares enough to send a Savior, there is hope. Hope for tomorrow. Hope for a future.
My family/neighbors have much ahead of them, decisions to be made, grief to work through, loss to accept. They will because their hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and His righteousness. They will move forward, rebuild, though they will be forever changed. They will continue to trust in their God because there is nothing else.
Dare we set our dreams on things of this earth when it is so quickly gone? Dare we trust anything except a mighty God who saves?
We stand firm on the Truth that God is good, God is strong, God is loving, and He will bring beauty from ashes.
And no matter what the enemy means for evil, God will use it for good. Our adversary does not have the last word.
The last word is: But Thou o Lord.
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sings But Thou O Lord
Scripture from Psalm 3, KJV