Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Aftermath

Last week, the threat of fire; now the promise of rain...

It has been a little more than one scant week. Just a few days since we were terrified, begging and praying. Wondering and worrying. Heartbroken and helpless.

     And now, we are in the aftermath. I realized that they must call it that because of all of the calculating that takes place. The tallying of things lost versus the things saved. Adding the positives, subtracting the negatives. But does it really work that way? 81% of the homes in the area were saved- but does that mean anything to the 19% who are now sifting through the ashes to find any remnant of the building they had loved into a home? 32,000 evacuated, only two were lost. That is such a tiny percentage it didn't even merit figuring. But I bet God knows. 70% contained, 30% still left to wreak havoc and prove points.

   And where does that leave me? Moving on. Which I have really discovered is code for "forgetting". That day last week seems a lifetime ago. A very bad, very foggy memory. But I have been doing some math of my own. If God gives me the opportunity to thank Him, to honor Him, to realize that He ultimately controls all the circumstances that surround me, if He uses His power in every situation to bring glory to Himself, and I add all that up and then don't take away anything more than a sigh of relief, I have come to the wrong answer.

   This is one of many opportunities that brings me to a crossroad in life: will this be a memorial stone, or will it merely be a pebble in my shoe on the journey? Something that bothered me, but after first opportunity I stepped to the side, pulled it out and tossed it away? Or will I anoint it with oil, set it up, and return to it when I need reminding that I am never more than a turn around the bend away from tragedy, but I have been called by name and redeemed?

"Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it." Genesis 35:14

    No one wants to remember all the bad. They want to be happy with the good, the things provided for, the miracles that take place. But I want to remember that I serve a God who works good in all things-not just that ones that deserve the fairy tale christening of "happily ever after". I want to remember the thunder and the lightening, the smoke and the flames, the fear and the trembling. Because all that reminds me I am utterly, helplessly, hopeless, thankfully dependent on Him to provide, to rescue, to redeem.

     I want to remember the tears, and perhaps cry them again. I want to keep that feeling fresh-I want to add it to my list of  Jericho walls stormed to the trumpets of prayer, knowing that the success didn't come-not even in the slightest from me, but from the only One who has power. I don't want to be given great sums of grace and mercy and take away nothing. I *want* to remember. I want to impart meaning to this that far outlasts the few hours of its actual occurring. Because if I stood by the burning bush and all I took away was some smoke scented clothes that I washed off and put away, then I have missed the real meaning. I have been told to "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."(Exodus 3:5b) It is my choice whether I walk away and only see dirty feet or whether I allow that experience to transcend and become something that opens my eyes to things that are far outside the realm of the dirt and smoke that filled those few days.

"But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:21,30

I want my answer to be far larger than the sum of the positives and negatives. Because in the Lord's calculations, it is only when I become less that I can actually be more.


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