Jun 27, 2012

Three Sources of Constancy & Encouragement in the Midst of Colorado’s Wildfires

The fires in Colorado are devastating.  I spoke with a friend yesterday who lost a cabin that had been in his family for years.  While he moved around growing up, this cabin was his only constant place on Earth.  Every summer he would join his grandparents and cousins there and they would enjoy living life together.

My dad was born and raised in Colorado Springs and we enjoy going back to visit family.  We spent this past Saturday at a family reunion there, driving into town on a peaceful warm summer day.  As the afternoon rolled on, the sky was darkened by smoke and an eerie red light poured through as ashes started to fall from the sky.  Now back home in Western Colorado, I watch the news and follow the Waldo Canyon Fire and other Colorado fires on Twitter as they affect the lives of our friends and family across the state.

I can’t imagine losing a home.  My friend shared his deep grief with me over losing the family cabin, the one constant place in his life.  He said that the grief he felt was like that of losing a family member.  It was hard to cope with losing the thing that had been most constant in his life.  He is headed out this week to sift through the rubble and ashes to see what is left.

My heart goes out to the folks mourning lost homes and lost lives through the fires in Colorado and across the country.  In the midst of this tragedy and others like it, we look ahead to what will remain.  I want to be very sensitive here; I realize for many, the wounds from these fires and from life are very fresh.  I hope the following words might provide encouragement and strength to move forward.  I will share what I am learning and invite you along on a journey to seek constancy in this life.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21

As we consider these events, I’d like to humbly share three sources of constant encouragement that will turn our eyes from the treasures and precious things here on Earth toward something that lasts.  In our community and in the end, three things remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.

Faith and a calling.  For me, this serves as another painful reminder.  I liken the situation to a mother and child, with the snip of the umbilical cord the two are separated.  As my children grow each day they become more independent.  Each day on earth, I am being called away from the things of this life and toward Eternity.  The grief, the pain and the losses in life are reminders that this place is not our home.  The devastation can either cause frustration and anger, or like the snip of an umbilical cord bringing a new life to the world, it can call us to look ahead toward Eternity.  We are called to store up treasures in Heaven as we use this painful reminder as a stronghold in our faith in the constancy of Christ.

Hope as it happens.  The passage in Matthew goes on to say, “Do not worry about life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…for your father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Again, this is easy for me to share from my office, miles away from any of the Colorado fires.  But the hope that we share in this situation with those around us will act as a salve as we look ahead to healing.  Through our hope, others will be invited into the same peace that comes from our hope.

Leading with love.  Armed with our faith and our hope, we can take love into our community.  As we jump in to help, we can open our homes, our hearts and our wallets to those who need it most.  We can join them as we sift through the wreckage of this life together and rebuild.  The feeds on Twitter pointed to this love.  Hotels that were completely booked as 32,000 people were evacuated last night opened the doors to their conference rooms and breakfast buffets for folks to sleep on the floor and have a meal.  Sporting goods stores pushed racks to the back and unrolled sleeping bags for displaced families.  The community is leading with love.

Through this disaster, it is beautiful to watch as folks share their faith as they are called to look ahead, sharing their hope as it happens, and sharing their love as they lead their community.  Years down the road, this faith, hope and love will act as a silver lining to the awful scars from the Waldo Canyon Fire as we point to the constancy of Christ.

Please consider sharing encouragement with the folks in Colorado Springs and across the state. 
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