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Friday, June 29, 2012

Waldo Canyon Fire - God is Still Here!

I normally keep all posts on this blog related to fiction authors, new fiction releases, industry news, and book reviews. But, the town where I live is currently enduring a firestorm that has destroyed over 340 homes, damaged hundreds more, shut down roads, caused businesses to be lost, and disrupted tens of thousands of lives.

As the fire continues to burn in wildland areas, people are faced with overwhelming tasks that include finding housing, repairing damages, cleaning up soot and ash -- and simply deciding what to do next.

So many are asking where God was in the midst of the fire when it jumped the ridge late Tuesday afternoon on June 26th and barreled down the mountain toward the Mountain Shadows subdivision. Thousands were and are wondering how God could allow something like this to happen. After all, isn't He a gracious and loving God who protects, not harms?
Yes, God is that, but one of the most difficult concepts for us in our finite minds to comprehend is while God *is* in control, we still live in a fallen, sinful world. And that means the results of sinful acts are still going to cause harm to both people and things. If God stopped all pain, all hurt, and all destruction from happening, He would also be eliminating our free will as humans. We'd be nothing more than puppets at the mercy of the Master's hand. And then our choice to follow God and accept Jesus' salvation would mean nothing. It wouldn't be a choice.

This firestorm, I believe, has woken up a lot of people. As one of the pastors of our church told me Tuesday, people are a great deal more receptive to hearing God's Word now. They are searching for something in the wake of this disaster, and the small seeds which have been planted are ready for the watering so the truth of God's love can grow on their hearts.

God promises in Isaiah 43:2, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." (NIV) Pay close attention to the word "through." This doesn't mean we won't face any tribulation or any harm in our lives. We *do* have to pass *through* the waters, the rivers, and the fire. But God is right there holding our hands, lifting us up, covering us, and providing for us, even when we face loss.

This loss has hit our town hard, but we're rallying around and taking care of our own. The outpouring of support, donations, and volunteering has been astounding. You ask where God was? He's been right here all along. And He's showing Himself through the generosity of all who are giving of their time, their money, their talents, and their homes, to help those in need. God hasn't gone anywhere. But is your heart open to seeing His handiwork?

(photos above copyright aerial photographer, John Wark. First photo is my personal one from the early hours of the fire breaking out, and the final photo is being circulated all over the Internet)

8 comments:

David Cox said...

Hi Tiffany! Wonderful post from a local who has gone through the fire. Great news about hearing folks being more interested and responsive to hearing God's Word. Searchers are always welcome to seek and find Eternal treasure. 'Tis worth the effort and the journey. . . always.

Praying for all involved. . . First Responders, residents and visitors alike. May hearts become soft and willing to receive God's Word and what He has to say about our lives.

You might want to see my own weblog at http://wanderingpilgrimsprogress.blogspot.com/ Just posted a photo essay on the fire. I too am a writer, among other avocations. I'm envious of your blog. . . you have several gadgets I need to learn how to install on my own blog. Aargh!

Jill said...

Thank you for posting this, Tiff. You and others caught up in this crisis are in our prayers!

Patti Shene, Executive Editor, Starsongs Magazine said...

Great post, Tiff. We all experience some degree of hardship in our lives, and this post, among others, helps put it all in perspective. God has a reason for everything and we need to keep our eyes focused on Him!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

David, thanks for stopping by and sharing the link to your blog. Amazing pictures you collected.

Jill, appreciate all the prayers. They mean far more than words can adequately convey.

Patti, you said it well too. If we focus on Him, we'll see the goodness out of the tragedy. Not easy when you're going through the "fire" and hardship, but well worth it in the end.

Michelle Sutton said...

Tiff!

I feel for you guys. Last year it seemed most of Arizona was on fire. Houses in my small town were lost, too, but nothing on the large scale as Colorado, and it disrupted our lives back then so I can imagine how hard it is for you all. I kept thinking about all of the books I had to review and how I worried they would burn up in the fires. It came as close as two miles from our house at one point. Praying for you all!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Thanks, Michelle. Praise God most wildfires are just that. In the wild and the brush. But this one obviously impacted on a greater level because of the homes lost and the businesses or personal lives interrupted.

As of today, the fire is 80% contained and God sent a cleansing, expansive, soaking rain for 2 hours this evening. We'll see what the reports tomorrow say.

Cheryl said...

We were away while all this was taking place. I'm glad you and your family made it through safely. My prayers continue as everyone works toward rebuilding.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Thanks, Cheryl. A lot of support is still taking place, and the recovery is still forward in our minds. It's been amazing to see God's outpouring of the giving spirits and hearts of this community. What an amazing tribute, whether folks believe God is at work or not.