Last night a home on our street caught on fire. Precisely two houses down from our home. Fortunately the fire was contained to the detached garage and storage shed. No life was endangered. Not so fortunate though, this is the fourth time a fire has started on this property. Arson is suspected by the officials. Our neighborhood is on high alert.
Last night was the worst scenario experienced thus far. Flames could be seen. Thick smoked filled the street and neighborhood. Numerous fire trucks were present. These brave firefighters responded promptly, yet it took several hours to completely extinguish the fire due to the size. A structure built of wood burns quickly.
This is a photo I took with my cell phone from the alley.
Fires are frightening. I’ve personally experienced a fire in my own home eight years ago. I remember the feeling of fear I felt for months. The smell of the smoke permeated everything in the home. The smoke smell is difficult to remove. I took action to help alleviate those fears. I had more smoke detectors installed. I had several fire extinguishers mounted throughout the home.
When I stepped outside this morning to water my flowers, I smelled the charred smoke in the breeze. I remembered those days in my own home when I smelled smoke each day and felt fear.
Concern Fear is among the neighbors at this point. Is this going to happen again? When? Why is this happening? The fire chief told my neighbor that according to the profile of an arsonist, he/she will return to the scene until the desired result is achieved. This time the fire started while most people were awake. Other times, the fire occurred during the night while most people are sleeping. Already, this arsonist has committed felony as previously the house has caught fire with the resident in the home.
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the LORD tests the heart.
Scripture tells us that we’ll be tested by fire. What is inside us? Will we burn up like a wood structure? Or will we be refined and shine like gold?
What kind of spiritual fires are we dealing with? How are we going to come through? At this time, our neighborhood is dealing with an antagonist who seemingly wants to cause damage or worse. God instructs us in HIS word to pray for our enemy and to bless them.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Romans 12: 14 NIV
Last night I smelled like smoke after standing outside and helping where I could. But I know of three who were put in the fire and afterwards they did not smell like smoke-- Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three amigos refused to bow down to the gold image. They had faith that their God could deliver them and even if he didn’t, they would not bow down. The king threw them in a fiery furnace. God did deliver them. No harm to their bodies; not a single hair on their head singed; and there was no smell of smoke or fire on them!! (Daniel 3:16-27)
Tests will come. How will we walk through the furnace? Will we walk with the kind of faith that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had? Do we have that kind of faith?
God is able—
- to keep our neighborhood from harm & protect us
- to change the heart of the person committing this crime
Blessings in Christ--