Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Consuming Fire

When you become a temporary "resident" at a Residence Inn, you really do meet some extraordinary people.

I've been a "resident" twice this year: first, in March when we vacationed in Florida, and again this month when we waited to close on our house.

On both occasions, God placed me in a spot to be a comfort to someone who had been displaced due to a house fire.

I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting Maggie back in March. We chatted at the breakfast buffet, and I offered to help her carry her food to a table, as she was using a walker. That's when she told me the story of the house fire. Maggie (who was in her seventies) and her son and grandchildren had made it out alive, and she was so thankful. But she told me that the grandchildren still suffered from nightmares, reliving the horror in their sleep.

It had been a tough year for her, she told me. Two daughters had died just months apart the year before. And now, after the fire, she wasn't sure where they would live after the insurance-approved period of temporary housing ran out.

We talked for several days, and I told her I was lifting her whole family up in prayer. I did, and I still do.

The day before we left, I had a question that needed an answer.

"Maggie, do you have a church family?" I asked her.

I wish you could have seen the sweet transformation of her face. It was as if a temporary sorrow had been replaced with an eternal joy. Her sweet smile said it all.

"Oh yes!" she said with gladness. And she proceeded to tell me how her church family had gathered around them in love and support.

That is the kind of joy and comfort I am hoping to find in my next church family.

When I read this verse, I was surprised to find some treasures about worship tucked in. I've been thinking about worship a LOT this year. It has thus far been a transformative year for me, not just in relocation, but also in my faith. I found these notes from a commentary on this verse to be so insightful that I needed to add them to my page.

This month, I met Mike, a single Dad who had escaped from a kitchen fire with his son, two dogs and a cat. When I met Mike, he still had the hospital band on his wrist after being examined for smoke inhalation. He wanted to met Miss Jemma, and as he gave her love (which she soaked up), Mike told me the story of the fire, of crawling under beds to retrieve his beloved pets, who were cowering in fear.

The most amazing thing happened during this encounter. Jemma, our wild child, became a comfort dog!

Here's a photo of Jemma from that very same morning, after she had rolled in green goose poop at the dog park, necessitating a trip to the Do-It-Yourself Doggie Wash shortly thereafter. Silly girl!

At one point, Mike buried his head in her soft and freshly bathed neck, and Jemma leaned in gently just like a good comfort dog should do. She gave this man such peace that it brought tears to my eyes!

After the ServPro disaster people do their wonders to his house, Mike and his teenage son and furry family members will have their home once again.

"Perhaps God wanted you to have a brand new kitchen," I told Mike.

"But I didn't want a new kitchen!" He laughed.

"Ah, but see, God wanted you to have one!" I said.

"Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." 
Hebrews 12:28-29

After too many weeks, we will finally get to church tomorrow. I plan on bringing a heart full of reverence and awe...for our God is a consuming fire.

Blessings on your weekend, cafe friends!

1 comment:

  1. You've blessed many lives this past year, Mary. Thank you for sharing these two stories and wishing you God's best as you continue on your worship walk.