In the Northwest where I live, fires are threatening forests, homes, and wildlife all around us. A popular mountain resort, complete with lodge, nearby cabins, and RV sites, is nestled among the trees and sits directly in the fire’s path. A young man I know, who works for the railroad, returned home through one of the mountain passes where more than four hundred acres of timber had burned. The embers were still glowing. He said he’d journeyed through hell.
Friends in various regions of the area are waiting for orders to evacuate as the untamed flames inch closer. Their go-bags contain the most essential things—insurance papers, medicine, credit card numbers. They leave their homes and the memories made there—rearing their children, celebrating holidays, and remodeling projects. Images of their pasts may be the only thing to which they will return.
To lose something which may represent a significant part of one’s life’s work has to be devastating. Hurricane Harvey wreaked the same kind of damage with its unrelenting rain. Many lost everything they had.
Perhaps that is why God said, in Matthew 6:19,”Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . . “ He knew that catastrophes could strike, waters could rise, fires could burn, and all material wealth be suddenly snatched from our grip in an instant.
Watching the firefighters, the rescuers, and the individuals providing meals, clothing, and shelter, evokes a different image. These are Americans at their best, bringing hope into the despair. Many churches are gathering toiletries, handing out blankets, and cooking meals for those without any resources. One church in the Northwest is partnering with a church in the South to provide for those left stranded by the storm. I know God in heaven must be pleased. Jesus said even a cup of water given in His name will be rewarded. These volunteers have provided a pitcher full.
Houses can be replaced, cities restored, forests re-grown, but the acts we perform in the name of the Saviour will be multiplied many times over. Those endeavors will last for eternity.