"Look!" he answered, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." Daniel 3:25
As I sat up in bed something had awoken me, realizing there were red flashing lights coming from the cracks in my closed blinds. As sleep fell from my eyes I could barely make out the image of Corey standing in the darkened, dining room across from my bedroom, staring blindly out the window. As I got up from my bed and rushed over to him I saw one of the most horrifying sights I had ever seen, our neighbors house was on fire.
The windows and front door were spitting out scorching red-hot flames and the roof was already completely consumed. Dana sleepily joined us as we gathered our thoughts and tried to come out of this sleep dazed nightmare.
From the darkness of night we could not make out any movement other than those of the firefighters. We fled to our rooms and jerked on clothes and shoes and made our way to our front door. I'll never forget the feeling of the scorching, hot steam that met our faces as we opened the door (like that of opening an oven door multiplied by one hundred.)
As we stood in our front yard looking for any human life around I began praying for my friends, and as we scanned the neighborhood we saw an awesome sight. All of the people who lived on our street were congregating in the yard directly across from this one. I spotted the home owners seated in lawn chairs as one by one each of our neighbors joined them in support.
The fire department worked relentlessly on keeping the fire in check but the home was an obvious loss. We stood there behind our neighbors, and watched as the fire burned their treasured possessions, nothing left but smoldering ash.
The days and weeks after were hard to fathom. I tried to put myself in their place as they dug through the ashes in hopes of finding something; anything that might have survived the heat and flames of the fire. For weeks they sifted through what was left of their home trying to find pieces of their life that could be salvaged.
Ashes are the remains of a fire that has completely consumed what was burned. With ashes there is nothing more to burn. There can be no more destruction because there is nothing left to lose.
Living among the ashes is characterized by surrendering to God in the middle of painful circumstances, letting go of the past and looking forward to better days, weeding out bitterness and resentment, building something new instead of holding onto shame and guilt, refusing to live in self-pity.
The fires of life may destroy our dreams but when we sacrifice our life to God and learn to surrender everything to Him there is nothing left to become fuel for the inner fires that can destroy our spirit, our hope and our joy.
Just as God walked through those torturous flames with those three men He also walked with our neighbors as they dealt with starting over, and He will also walk with you. As I look out my dining room window I now see a beautiful home that replaced the burned embers of the old.
"To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." (Isaiah 61:3)
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Thank You for bringing my neighbors safely through the fire all those years ago that destroyed so much and thank You for helping them rebuild their lives and their home. Help me to be strong in my faith and hold to You when life threatens to destroy what is mine. May I always glorify You. In Jesus' name. Amen.