Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Fire

This week has been intense. It hasn't been bad, stressful, or even busy, just intense (at least that's the closest word I came up with): work has been busy (which I like) as we have been short staffed (which I don't like), the political scene of our country has been intense, today I had a good talk with a friend about discipleship in churches that caused some deep thinking, and we had a fire in our building Monday morning.

I awoke at one a.m. to the sound of the smoke alarms going off in the building. As freaked out as I was, I quickly determined my room did not feel warm and I saw no smoke. "This could be a while," I thought as I pulled on some real clothes. I wandered outside and saw no one. A few minutes later two police officers came and asked if I knew who had called, I didn't. I let them in the building as my neighbor ran out clutching her son and screaming. The unit above hers was on fire and smoke was billowing down to her building. We got away from the building and saw where the smoke was coming from. Thick, black smoke was billowing from the fourth floor. When I saw that, I knew this was for real and was scared. I joined my neighbor across the street. She was panicy and her son was cold. The two of them were scared for their cat, but the mom reassured her son, "The people are safe and that's what's important". She calmed down and I became her eyes (as she had no time to put her contacts in admist the rush). With our street blocked off, the firefighters came with four fire engines, raised up the flood lights, and immersed us in a surreal, strobing daylight. They drug a fire hose through our building, raised up ladders, and carried huge tools around. My neighbor and I chatted about how thankful we were it was November and still a balmy 65 degrees out (even at 1am), how she could really use a light, and how the work day was going to be very tiring tomorrow. (Evacuation are a great way to meet your neighbors.) A while later, the landlord came and talked with my neighbor about how there might be damage to her unit. They walked through it and found only a little water damage (and they found her cat :-) ). The fire marshall told us we could go back in, but they would continue working in the building. It was hard to sleep with the huge light still on and all the noise of the fans drying out our building. The fire has changed my view on life. I'm not sure how, I just feel I have a different perspective. People seem more important. Life seems shorter. Stuff has lost all value. Never once while sitting and watching the calamity did we talk about how we were going to miss this, that, or the other thing. All she said about loss was "The people are safe."

Also this week, I have started doing my devotional time more structured. It is ramped up in intensity and I love it. I have been thinking about surrender and found it drastically ironic that the day after I learn about surrender, our building is in flames (ok, it wasn't that bad). It was almost as if God was saying, "Really? Are you ready for an adventure? Are you ready to give your all?" Wow. God is awesome. And with me in my intense week!


Steve Turnbull said...

I realize this wasn't the main point of your post, but near the end you said you'd been thinking about surrender. Me too. What have you been thinking?

A thought occurred to me a couple weeks ago in staff Bible study. We talk about surrendering to God oftentimes in the context of admitting that we are weaker and he is stronger. But surrenders also are usually done to someone we have been fighting against. Think "Confederacy" or "Nazi Germany."

We've gotten comfortable thinking that we'll give up because God is stronger than we are, but I wonder how comfortable we are thinking of ourselves as the rebellious offender who needs to lay down their arms and surrender. We haven't just been proven weaker. We've been fighting for the wrong side.

Bethany said...

I see surrender as throwing my arms up and saying "I give up doing things my way. I want to do them your way." This is where I think lifting open hands in worship is so important. It is a physical way to give up or wave the white flag.

Here are some lyrics I've been thinking of on the topic of surrender. It shows a mindset of thinking as Christ would think:
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
from Hosanna by Hillsongs