As part of the Doctor of Ministry program, I have been assigned a Mentor to walk through the program with me. My mentor is the pastor at FBC Colorado City. He is a great man of God and I enjoyed meeting with him yesterday. After our time together, I drove north on highway 208 to see the impact the wildfires had on the small community, having talked with someone earlier about their relative losing a home in the fire.
I can’t explain some of the feelings I had as I topped the hill and saw where the wildfires had torn through the north part of the community. The fires had burned some houses to the ground, but left others standing right next door. One house was burned halfway down, but a large pine tree surrounded by green grass still stood in the front yard. Some people were in their blackened front yards beginning the cleanup process, while others still had sprinklers on their burned grass to keep any flare-ups from happening.
When I see something like this, it always raises questions of “Why?” “Why would God allow such a thing to happen?” “Why did some people lose everything while neighbors lost nothing?” Questions are difficult because I do not know the mind of God.
I have to remind myself that I live in a fallen world: a world where even creation was affected by the sin of Adam and Eve. Tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and wildfires happen because we no longer live in the Garden of Eden.
As I drove home on I-20, I saw a small patch of land in the median that had been burned in an earlier fire. I could still see the black from the fire, but there was something different about this area of burned land. This charred piece of ground had bright green growing through the ashen areas. I was reminded that even out of something as devastating as a fire, good happens as the fire creates fertilizer and new, stronger growth happens.
This does not seem comforting for those who lost their homes, because their homes will not grow back. Their clothes will not sprout from trees. I think, no, I believe this is where we come in. As Christians, we are to be the physical presence of Christ to the hurting. For those who have lost everything, we are to help begin the new, stronger growth in their lives.
I ask you to first pray for those who have been and are affected by wildfires and other horrible things that happen everyday in the world, but also, find a way to be a physical presence of Jesus in their lives. You do not have to meet every need, but listen for those groups that are helping and plug into the mission of those groups.
Second, as a church and as individuals, we are reminded with the newness of regrowth that happens in spring and after fires, that we, the people of God, have a chance to grow stronger in the midst of adversity. No matter what it is ion our lives, God is there walking with us and though we might fall over and over, God picks us up and helps us start new...stronger...better equipped to serve the Kingdom of God.