The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away… and sometimes He gives back again. You may remember my mention of our friends, Gene and Nancy, who lost their home in the Black Forest fire. They lived on the same block where the fire started, and had literally minutes to wake their daughter-in-law, grab the dog, the computer hard drive, and a box of photos (stored by the front door!) before jumping in their cars and fleeing for their lives.
Their house burned down, along with the accumulated treasures of fifty years of marriage. They are mourning their loss, and it is substantial. Yet, they have no doubt that God is good and that He is watching over them. For example…
By the time they climbed into their cars, flames had engulfed much of their neighborhood. The road that led to the main highway was impassable. Being fairly new to the area, they didn’t know all the roads and ended up driving in circles, trying to escape a maze of twisty country lanes and cul-de-sacs. They were becoming more alarmed by the minute! Was there another way out?
That’s when they saw a woman sitting in a car parked by the side of the road. Gene pulled up, rolled down his window, and asked if she knew a way out.
“Yes,” she answered calmly. “Follow me.” She started her car and went ahead of them, turning right at one corner, left at another, this way and that, as she led them along back dirt roads and finally out onto the highway. As the caravan of cars sped up, she slipped out of sight around a curve—and when the road straightened, she was nowhere to be seen. She and her car had simply disappeared!
Later, we had a chance to ask Nancy how she was doing, and what loss saddened her the most. She explained that right before the fire started, she had been taking a shower. She always takes her jewelry off to shower and in the rush to leave, she had forgotten to put her engagement and wedding rings back on. She was brokenhearted at losing rings she’d worn since she was 15.
Days later, Gene went back to their home to sift through the remains for anything that could be saved. The fire had been hot enough that little identifiable remained. He noticed rivulet of hardened silver metal on the ground and realized it had once been a pair of aluminum ladders. Then he saw another lump of molten material lying in the ashes. He was about to throw it away when something (or Someone?) made him stop. Instead, Gene brought it to their son-in-law, who is a jeweler. Yes, you guessed it. Inside the mass of metal—the remains of Nancy’s rings—were her diamonds!
We may not understand why God allowed our home to survive unscathed while Gene and Nancy’s burned down. Perhaps Pete and I have other lessons to learn, or other ways of showing God’s glory. What is clear is that Gene and Nancy are much loved by their heavenly Father, in amazing and practical ways.