The photo above and all photos below are courtesy of pexels
When I was 12 years old – I and my family were the victims of a house fire. We stayed in this white 2.5 bedroom house, I say a half because it was actually a two bedroom but the back middle room of the house, in which was supposed to be a dining room; was turned into a room for my two sisters, I shared a back bedroom with my aunt, my mom’s baby sister, and my mom and stepdad at the time had their own room. It wasn’t the best living conditions but it was a home and we had a roof over our head; which is all anyone could ask for.
The bathroom was very small for six people and disappointing when someone went in and used up all the hot water before you got your turn. Let’s just say, I took many cold showers. As small as the bathroom was, someone had the audacity to put a brown gas heater in there. Like who in their architectural mind would do such a thing! It was not only in the way but it scared the bejesus out of me when it would get lit in the winter times. To see that fire blazing in their was a scary situation coming out of the shower, I always felt like it was going to reach out and touch me or (as clumsy as I was) I was for sure I was going to bump into it and receive 3rd degree burns on my butt or bony legs.
However, every night we would light it up (even in the summertime); yes a few people in the house were cold-natured. That old brown furnace was powerful and didn’t cease or fail to warm up that little ole house – soon, I would learn just how powerful and dangerous it really was. At that time we only had a washer, no dryer – so our clothes had to be hung out to line dry (don’t see that too much now, but clotheslined clothes were the best smelling clothes around, I promise) this night instead of putting in a whole load of clothes to wash, there were these orange shorts I wanted to wear to school the next day, so I decided to wash them in the bathroom sink on my hand. Once I washed them, I let them hang dry in the bathroom since that was the warmest place in the house. Instead of putting the shorts on the shower curtain rod; I decided that they would dry faster, on the towel rack above the brown heater – right about now; I know you see where this story is going…
I went to bed that night and woke up to a rude awakening of thick black smoke. My bed was empty, and my aunt was gone. As I got out of the bed coughing and choking to smoke, I saw a big blaze of fire coming from the bathroom, in which covered the hallway ceiling. I had never seen a fire that close-up before, I got scared to run under it and the only thing I knew to do was to run in the closet located in our room. Now crying, panicking and thinking that that day was surely going to be the last day of my life. I was in disarray. Suddenly, I heard someone calling my name – as I came from the closet, I saw my step-dad; he grabbed my hand and pulled me under the shooting flames and out the front door. I see my mom, sisters and aunt all crying and just as frantic as I was. Once I got to my mom and hugged her; I turned around and seen the whole house now collapsing from the flames. I remember the firefighters told us that we were all lucky to be alive. “That house should have blown up; the flames were shooting right over the hot water heater. he said” We lost everything that day, we only escaped in gowns, bare feet and the little clothes we had on our backs. Now, what….we don’t have anything…..I thought.
I wanted to tell this story because as most of you might know or have heard; last week the Carolina’s were ravaged by Hurricane Florence, in which came in with a mighty vengeance – unsure as to who made her mad but she didn’t come to play, but destroy. Many Carolinian’s were affected by this tragic storm in which claimed a couple of lives with it. New Bern, North Carolina was the most affected by the storm. Over 800 people were displaced including my sister, brother-in-law, and nieces whom all almost lost their lives due to the flood sweeping their cars away. Florence also took their home – so like many others they have lost as well and while we know we can always get materialistic things again, a life is one thing that cannot be given back, so today I’m grateful to God not only for their lives but other lives as well that was spared during this tragic storm.
In prayer on Saturday morning, God brought the fire tragedy to my mind to let me know that the same God he was when I was in 6th grade and lost everything, is the same God he is today – the same God that when we lose something of materialistic value, he’s the God that gives it back to us better than what we lost, just like he did for my family when I was in 6th grade.
I don’t know what you may have lost recently, whether it was by way of an unfortunate storm or some other catastrophic disaster but I want you to know that God is the God of again and what you count as a loss, he counts as gain and has a list of better things to replace the ones you’ve lost. He just needs you to trust him. I’ve lost many things in my own life since that 6th-grade incident; cars, houses, jobs and I’m here to tell you I’m better off now than I was then. While things may not seem so happy go lucky right now and you may be waiting to get a return on what was lost; be encouraged and keep your head up.
When I would go through devastating pains or hardship – my mother would sing this song to me, she even got up in church one Sunday and song it right to me as I was saddened over a breakup. While she’s no longer here; this song still gets me through some pretty rough times. Enjoy and remember; God has not forgotten YOU but cares for YOU & that’s a promise you can take to the bank and get a hefty return.
Vickie Winans – Everything’s going to be alright!