"The flame shall not hurt thee"

God never sends destruction.

From the canyon observation tower, we could see the forest fire burning on the ridge above us. With each change in the wind, the orange haze shifted direction. Our neighbor wondered aloud if the flames would soon be plunging down the mountain toward our houses. And not long after we returned home, the radio informed us that we should prepare to evacuate.

As I moved through each room, grabbing photo albums and computer disks, I realized that safeguarding our possessions should be only part of our preparation. I needed to think more clearly about what was happening. It seemed frightening and unfair that our house, which we had worked hard to build, might suddenly be destroyed by a whim of nature. As I paused, the thought came to me that loss and devastation could not be the will of a loving God. That calmed me, and I realized that I could entrust all that I cherished to God.

The beginning of the ninety-first Psalm came to thought: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust" (verses 1 and 2). With almighty God as our refuge and fortress, there could be nothing to fear. This familiar yet fresh sense of God's absolute power and of His pure love for His children helped me realize that whatever happened, we were all embraced in the tenderest of care. I knew our needs would be met.

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September 4, 2000

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