Fast-moving brushfires devastated southern California in October 2003. According to the Los Angeles Times, the fires killed 24 people, burned about 740,000 acres, and destroyed more than 3,500 structures. Fred Colby lived in a suburb of San Diego at that time, and recalls the inward journey that took him and his wife to safety, and helped rebuild a community.

I thought it was a well-deserved rest. I was sleeping late on an October Sunday morning almost three years ago. I'd stayed up late the previous evening at my nonprofit's big annual dinner dance.

Even after my late night, though, I was awake in the early morning hours. I felt a general sense of unease, a need to do some praying. The thought came to me that God was ever present, and that His Love was ever enveloping and protecting us.

I'm glad I took time to pray. When I awoke later that morning, my wife told me that a fire appeared to be bearing down on our community, Scripps Ranch, California.

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