Smoke from a distant wild fire settles over the dry, brown land like a grey,wool blanket.
Air is heavy, unfit to breathe. Stuck indoors, I’m disappointed. But I don’t complain.
I’d rather have smoke than flames.
I remember the wild fire that lit up the landscape of Colorado this past June. I sat glued to the news, watching the fire rage like a mad man, destroying 500 homes. timber, and two souls in its path.
I once lived in Colorado. Tears accompanied my prayers for friends who packed suitcases and waited, ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
To me, their homes were more than brick and wood. We sat together in their homes, celebrating birthdays, baby showers, holidays.
Memories were made and friendships born in those homes.
Would everything go up in smoke?
While I waited for news, the ancient question spewed from my lips, “God, why are you allowing this? My friends are good people.”
I know that “God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God.” (Romans 8:28)
But NOT THIS….purification by fire.
Praise God, my friends’ homes were spared. But the land, not far from where they live, was scorched and blackened like a war zone.
Recently, I heard about another fire in Mexico.
The family lost everything they owned. And they owned very little.
Before it happened, my son had returned from a mission trip and told me about the generous Mexican woman. She had taken the little money she had to prepare platters of fresh tamales for the church youth group who were working at a nearby church.
And this was her reward?
Instead of receiving a blessing, her house burned down?
The same question slithers like a serpent and whispers in my ear. Why?
Why did God allow this to happen?
It’s a question I ask when life doesn’t seem fair.
When good things happen, the question doesn’t enter my mind.
What is good?
Dying on the cross? Not good, but that’s how Christ paid the penalty for my sins.
Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers? Not good, but God meant it for good.
A home destroyed by fire? Not good, but even now, God is orchestrating His church to love this family in Mexico and help restore their possessions.
How can my earth-bound finite mind comprehend the good that will come to this woman and her family? Not just a new home, but God’s good purposes that I can’t see.
So rather than be God’s fair weather friend...only praising Him when “good things happen.”
I shall repent in dust and ashes like Job, “You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I–and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.’ “ (Job 42:3)
With an attitude of thanksgiving, I will wait patiently for the winds to shift, blow away the smoke, and bring blue skies again.