April 10, 2010
“Mrs. Fletcher, your house is on fire.” Is this for real, did he just say my house was on fire?
April 10, 2020
It is 2 am right now, and I am wide awake. This is the 10th anniversary of our house fire and I feel as though once again I sit helpless, watching flames that threaten to destroy our lives.
God often wakes me up at these odd hours when He wants my full attention and I can fully listen. I set up my spot, open my devotional and turn to today’s short thought and scripture.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16
I sit staring at those words, I am not told to put on my shield so that I might be able to put out a few of the devil’s flaming arrows, but so that I CAN extinguish ALL of them.
That day 10 years ago, my husband was out of town. It was a Saturday, the day our family worships on. My kids were at our church with a family friend as I helped with an event at a different church. The phone was ringing over and over before I decided to leave the event room and answer this unknown caller.
“Mrs. Fletcher your home is on fire.” Calling the family friend who had my kids I asked her if she could keep them with her as I was driven home by a friend at the event.
We had just built our home, the 8 years of planning and dreaming served as the source for the dark cloud of smoke I could see as we got closer to my street.
The smoke burned my eyes as I watched the proof of many childhood memories, my wedding moments and our families beginnings serve as kindling and turn to ash.
The following weeks were so hard. Sorting through damaged possessions, making lists, taking in the reality of what was lost and reading through countless insurance claim forms. While reading through the papers I was stopped by the phrase “acts of God”.
ACTS OF GOD: “Acts of God are significant for the havoc and damage they wreak. Many insurance policies for property damage exclude from their protection damage caused by acts of God” The Free Dictionary
As I thought about that I became defensive, we are blaming the wrong entity for this world’s tragedies.
The Devil gets to shoot flaming arrows, igniting pain and destruction all the while keeping his presence hidden.
On this 10th anniversary, I feel as though I am sitting on the outside watching those flames once again attempting to destroy. Helpless as the enemy ignites pain and fear all around me, but God woke me up to remind me to put on my shield of faith. To show me the true acts of God.
In my reading, He comforted me with the words written by John Eldredge:
“When the adversary is involved, the intensity of feelings provoked by everyday occurrences of life can be compared to gasoline poured on a fire. The fire would burn and hurt you even without the gasoline, but its additional fuel totally consumes the kindling of your soul in an inferno of shame and contempt for yourself, but also scornful of the people who have “caused” you such pain. Meanwhile, the real enemy who caused this configuration sits unnoticed in the background, full of glee.”
Today as my family marks this anniversary and faces yet another flaming arrow, I am reminded to focus on the many acts of God.
I know exactly how God was with us through that fire:
- No one was home – I kissed my entire family goodnight that day and pet the heads of my two dogs.
- I was immediately surrounded by a group of women after receiving that call and given a ride home by one of them
- He held me in the arms of my neighbor
- He gave me a reassuring smile through the man who built the house, standing there with me watching his hard work burn
- The outpouring of love, support, housing and meals from our community
- It brought our small country road of neighbors together
- Strengthened my faith and filled me with a peace that has been a testimony
Reflecting on His faithfulness I see many similarities to how He is with me today. As my family faces the current ‘fire’ we have received many a hang in there comment. It is a very well-meaning phrase, but it conveys a message that we are relying on our own strength. If that were the case we would surely fall after an intense struggle.
We are not hanging we are being held in there – by all of the Acts of God.
As I sit quietly in the home that was rebuilt, I open His word and take up the shield of faith. Satan is not sitting unnoticed, I am in the fight to remove that glee.
This hung on the wall in one of the rooms destroyed by the fire, as I walked through the room I was reminded of all I had not lost. Life is Good because God is Good!