I have so many things for which to be thankful. God's grace without a doubt is number one. Clothing, sustenance, and etc… Church family… biological family… but I am really thankful for my wife's family right now. They have been such a great testimony to my wife and me in the midst of their latest trial.
If you have not heard, their house, the one Liz grew up in, burnt down to the ground. Suddenly, all that Daddy Ray, Momma, and Lori had was what was on their back or in their car. That's it! Two statements they made stood out to me. The first was the truth that "it's just stuff." Of course there were "irreplacables" like memories and other sentimental items that insurance cannot replace. But in the end, it was all just stuff. They kept repeating this as they smiled.
What is amazing to me is how God's sovereign protection was so apparent. Traci, Nathan's wife, went into labor Saturday night. Liz and I almost went up there for that, but we couldn't. Who knows, we might have been in the house during the fire, since Traci's labor went into Sunday afternoon. In fact, because the labor was Saturday night/Sunday morning, it kept everybody out of the house. Around 6 Sunday morning, it was up in flames. The firemen said that it was such a smokey fire that no one would have made it out. God is so good!
That leads me to the second statement I heard Daddy Ray say. While looking at the burnt remains and with spectators constantly coming by, he approached a few visitors with a "praise the Lord" greeting. This man had just lost the house that he built for his family. And his reaction was to praise God. Truly an incredible witness to his Savior.
I keep thinking of James 1:2-4 – "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But you must let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing."
Thank you, Momma and Daddy, for being such Christ-like examples for your family, friends, and world around. And thank you, Father, for your loving protection. May you always be glorified in our lives!
If you wish to see pictures of the devastation, click the "pictures" link at the top right. Liz is constantly updating our shutterfly account with pics.