Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Hand of God

This photo was taken from my backyard on Saturday, right after the fires had begun...

“There are three things that are never satisfied,
four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
 the grave, the barren womb,
land, which is never satisfied with water,
and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’
Proverbs 30:15a-16

"He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants."
Psalms 104:4

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 
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.  
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
Isaiah 43:1b-3a

My beloved mountains are in flames. My heart is breaking-almost 10% of the population of my adopted hometown have been evacuated-their homes in imminent danger. Even the house that my family lived in on the Academy, when I was in college, is in an evacuation area. I can't see because of the smoke but I can promise you one thing: this is the hand of God.

I have been on edge since the first reports came in on Saturday. The fire started Friday,  and all the officials were hopeful that it would stay away from the city, that rain would come, that it could be contained. I worried, I prayed, I stared into the distance, as if the power from my vision would be enough to dispel the ferocious flames. 

We survived on that hope until Tuesday afternoon. I could hear the wind screaming around my house-it has been so hot here, well over 100 degrees some days, that we have been keeping all the blinds closed against the blazing sun. My heart sank-I knew this was a bad omen. Then the reports started flooding in. The worst possible thing: the fire had jumped through a canyon that was the last point separating numerous neighborhoods and the city from the flames.

I was dumbstruck. Looking through Facebook was mind-numbing. Every person I knew from the Springs was posting about the devastation. Some had been evacuated, some had posted photos-several were fleeing their homes. Then, anyone I knew from out of town was posting mundane things: photos of coffee, friends, trips recently taken. And I realized that must be how any city suffering a natural disaster feels. Alone, and separated. 

 We left the house-we are many miles south of the flames, and the danger is negligible. The town was a bizarre scene: to the north, thick billowing clouds of smoke and ash obscured the sun and the mountains. To the south, the sun shone and the sky was blue, the wind was calm.

There should be mountains in the left of this photo. The strange purple blue cloud is smoke-there were no natural clouds that way.

As we went further we were stunned by the darkness. It seemed wrong to be carrying on in a normal way, but there was nothing we could do. I stood in Costco glued to a television that someone had turned to a news channel. Then I heard something that I have clung to ever since. The speaker was talking about the confluence of events that had to occur for such a devastating turn to take place. Literally within minutes the wind had to be blowing a certain direction, the fire had to be at a specific place, the temperature had to rise, and a multitude of other details had to fall perfectly into place for the fire to crest the ridge of the canyon it was in, come down the other side and begin to devour the houses there.

"The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD." Joel 2:31

And I realized: God had orchestrated those events. Only He could make those things happen at just the right time. I don't know why, but He is behind all this. This is the hand of God. He has a reason. He created fire- out of all the elements, it is the most destructive. I do know this: we are powerless to stand against it in our humanity. We can fight and we can persevere, but in the end victory (or defeat) rests with Him alone. And I was comforted. I know it seems strange, but hearing that it was the most bizarre of coincidences assured me that it was not a coincidence at all.

Do I think this is the end of the world? I don't know; I doubt it. However, it definitely calls to mind so many of the end time prophecies. And that is probably a good thing. We walk as if we have definite security in our place in the world, and in reality the only security we have is as far from this world as possible.

I haven't stopped praying, but I have stopped worrying. My prayers are simple: "Please, Jesus. Please. Be merciful."  I won't pray for the Lord to do anything but His will-it is abundantly clear that He has a purpose far beyond my understanding. So, pray for my dear city: for my beloved mountains, for all of the people, for their salvation, with me- we are walking through the fire, the flames all around, but the Light of the world is guiding and I know that I have been summoned by name...


  1. Clare it breaks my heart to see te devastation happening there! I am praying it will end quickly. It makes me so grateful for the rain that drenched me yesterday on our hike even though I comaoned about it. Why a difference it can make.

  2. Thank you for this blog. It puts things into perspective for me in a way I can't even describe. I am praying with you.

  3. My prayers are the same..."Keep everyone safe. Protect them, Lord."

    It is so surreal to see our town suffer such losses, but then amazing to see how the community is responding and supporting all those who are displaced.

    AMAZING post Clare, thank you! God's Hand is in this...even though we may not know the details. 12,000+ acres burned & no injuries, that is SURELY God's presence & protection!!

  4. As believers we are assured God's hand is in everything and I often wonder where non-believers find comfort.

    Praying the Lord continues to keep you safe and allows your home to be a safe dwelling place for friends in need.

    p.s. I had to write three devotionals for the kids this week for kids' camp and I kept thinking, Clare would do a much better job of this than me :)

  5. I was talking to a friend yesterday trying to describe how bizarre it felt to be covered in rain and see on Facebook so many covered in fire. I think your blog described everything so perfectly. After my near drowning I really felt that Isaiah 43:1 which I'd liked for years had been the perfect choice for a life verse.It's amazing to see how God has control of both the water and the fire and uses all for his plan. Also, you're never alone God is with your city and His people everywhere are praying for mercy.
    Job 5:9-10 Who does great things, and unsearchable,
    Marvelous things without number.He gives rain on the earth,
    And sends waters on the fields.

  6. This really hit home for me today with events going on in my own life and I understand exactly what you mean about walking through life like its normal when its anything but.I've been needing to call you for some time now. Will you be around tonight at all? I know its Wednesday...

  7. Oh, yeah you might need to know that imladrisnine = Ruth :)

  8. Looking through Facebook WAS mind-numbing, huh? We are so very fortunate and so very lucky. It's been a very long week. But God is still God and He sits on His throne. That kept us sane last week...

    ~ Jen



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