The fire was coming up the mountainside, and we needed to evacuate. As I drove away, I wondered: Would I ever see this place again? Would I have a job? What is going to happen? The days to come were frustrating, confusing, and hard. I hated just waiting, unsure of what was next.
And, I was frustrated with God. “Why? Why would you allow this to happen? Why now, at this point in my life? Why so much damage to such a beautiful place?” A bit reluctantly, I turned to the Scriptures, started reading, started praying, crying, screaming out to God.
I found my emotions to be all up and down. I was tired, exhausted, worn out, a bomb with a short fuse. In those days, it didn’t take much to explode. Mercifully, the verses did eventually penetrate my heart. “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free” (Psalm 118:5).
As I expressed my thoughts and feelings to the Lord, freedom started to come. Nothing was too difficult for Him, too hard for Him to hear, too angry for Him to process. It was freeing to talk with Him honestly, and eventually, He started to answer my hard questions. His character was revealed through the Scriptures. I began to understand who He is. My God is loving, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, joy, and peace. He wants what is best for my life, my soul, my heart.
As the operations manager at a summer camp, having a forest fire burn 100 acres of your 330-acre property was both a miracle and a mess. It was a miracle that 230 acres and most of the infrastructure were untouched.
The mess was what it would take to get it running again. There were so many obstacles in the way, tasks that seemed impossible. Again, Psalm 118:5 came to life: “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” I needed miracle after miracle to happen. And God provided.
I prayed about the new seed we needed, God provided a donor. I needed an ATV, I prayed, and two four-wheel-drive vehicles showed up. I needed people to chop down trees, I was given two months of teams from around the country who came and worked.
I learned to pray, to talk to God, to experience new life. Out of the ashes, it came. I was worn out, pushed to my limits, at the bottom. But from that dark place, I began to cry to the Lord, and He answered. One prayer after another.
Since the crisis, I pray differently. I think I live differently. During those hard days, I grew up a bit, not like a child becoming an adult, more like an adult coming to understand his father on a deeper level.
On Your Own
Do you have a favorite verse on trust and prayer? Spend a minute reading it one more time.
Or try Isaiah 26:4: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”