The morning began like any other. I was off that day and, as usual, had much to do. I had awakened at 4:00 a.m. because Miss Nita was not yet asleep. I got up, put on my clothes and made her a cup of hot chocolate to help her go to sleep and then went downstairs. It is not at all unlikely for me to get up at 4:00 a.m. I almost always get up by 5:00 anyway. What’s an hour, give or take.
I went to the computer, checked my email, poked around on the internet for a little while and headed out to do some work on the little house my brother is going to be living in. It was all routine. I had been there just less than an hour and realized that I had left a tool I needed at home. So, I took off to go back home and get it. I was only a mile away. In route, I got a call from a neighbor, “Your house is on fire, but Nita got out.” I floored it. It is amazing how long it takes to go a mile when you are under that kind of stress.
Arriving at home, I could see flames shooting out windows and through the roof. Anita had jumped twenty or so feet from the second story window and was hurt in her right leg and ankle very badly. In tears of physical pain and pain of the heart, we watched it burn. Thirty-six years was reduced to a pile of rubble.
While the firefighters were working and the house still standing, I rushed her to the hospital where she later had surgery that day.
Later in the day, I returned to see the damage. It was overwhelming. But, what was more overwhelming was the sea of people working to help us scrape as much of our lives as possible out of the ashes. Elders, deacons, church members, friends and people I didn’t even know were moving like ants on an anthill to save or fix something. My heart was touched so very deeply. I’ve done the same kind of thing for others, now it was being done for me.
The loss of property and cherished memories was shattering. But, the view of servitude…seeing Jesus work through the lives and hands of others was a sight to behold. I think I shall never forget that picture. Hearts were, and still are, pouring out the love of God all over us. Ministry was in it’s finest moment. And I believe that through this whole experience, God has been glorified through every hand that helped and every heart that cared.
There is not space enough for the whole story. Before it all happened…I believed. But now, I believe even more. God calls us to minister…and sometimes it is digging through the ashes of someone else’s life. PRAISE HIM!