On this the nineteenth anniversary of 911, my state was under siege. Smoke hung like a curtain over our valley. Wild fires raged in the hills. The threat of evacuation hovered in levels 1, 2,and 3, dependent upon where you lived.
What began as a high wind warning last Sunday turned forest fires into infernos by Monday.
Alerts of new evacuations were posted, cell phones chirping like smoke alarms throughout the day as the orders were sent. Instructions for Go bags were the watchword. Did you pack this? Do you have that? Those with animals had to find carriers or trailers depending on the size. Do you have food? Some place to go?
And then the wait began.
Air quality was so poor residents were advised to stay home. A trip to the grocery store on Wednesday seemed like a trek through a snowstorm.
Only the white stuff falling was ash, not snow.
Refugees from the communities already devastated by fire, who didn’t have family, found housing in the new hotel down the street. Red Cross stations were set up at the local high schools. The local parks and recreation agency offered its gym facility as a shelter. A restaurant nearby fed anyone who had been displaced for free. Those with ample gardens brought produce by the pickup load to feed those left without a kitchen.
Mark 12:31 clearly states we are to love each other. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Our community took that commandment to heart. The response overwhelmed the victims.
In John 16:33, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
What a wonderful promise. To know that whatever life hands us He is there to give us peace and to pick us up when we are down. Whatever these calamities throw at us He will be there waiting to lead us on.
Pictured above: Photo by Perla Leon