Up in Smoke
Nothing happens by chance, there is no such thing as good luck, bad luck or coincidences, and there is purpose in everything. These are what comfort me late on Friday night as I watch smoke roll out of the building that was once our family business. God is in this. He has a plan… for my husband, for the business, for the city, and for me.
How do people live when they don’t understand this? When they feel that life is random? To feel as if their lives hinge on whether good or bad luck comes their way. That is no way to live; that is not the abundant life we are promised in John 10:10. If our life paths are left up in the air depending on what decisions we make and what luck we have then God is a liar. Psalms 139:16 - Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
This is not just pretty poetry; these are the words of Mighty Creator God through his servant David. He has written out every day of your life even before he formed you. Let the immensity of this hit you in the face. If you ever feel as if God does not know (and love) you, read the entirety of Psalms 139. Your feet do not walk a path by chance. If this is news to you don’t despair, it is something that has taken me years to grasp, and I still struggle with it.
So what is God’s plan in burning down our family business? The business that was started 44 years ago, built with hard work, is all my husband has ever known and provides for our family? I don’t know. I don’t need to know, I just need to trust that God knows. And really, that is everything to me. Maybe God wants to rebuild the business even better, maybe he wants to sever our dependence on something other than him, maybe God desires more of our attention. Maybe all of these things. One thing I’m sure of is that our prayers have become richer, our faith in Christ more sure, and our love for others deeper. The blessings are abounding already.
Had things been different and life been lost in this fire, God would still be good. We would still praise him. I like to picture our praise rising up to God just like the smoke from the fire. In Old Testament times, sacrificial offerings would be burned on an alter and the aroma that arose from this pleased the Lord (Numbers 29:2). I want my praise to do the same. I want God to burn away anything in my life that detracts me from him. I leave it all on the table.
God knew long ago that this fire would take place and that our lives would experience a shift. He also knows exactly how he plans to use this for his glory and I look so forward to that. Having dealt with tragedy in the past (more severe than this) I am honestly filled with excitement in anticipation of what God will do through this. I plan to be a part of it and wouldn’t miss it for the world. His love for us is overwhelming.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31, 32.
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