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RED49: The Power of Fire

That title. *shivers*

I still have no idea what just happened in the past month. It feels like a year since I was writing on this blog, saying I’d be taking a little break from blogging. And I don’t think that I could’ve picked a better time to have an interlude, even though I didn’t know that at the time.

Shall I start from the beginning?

*deep breath*

I was evacuated.

My family was evacuated. My friends were evacuated. My whole town was evacuated.

A few weeks ago, a fire started near our town, and soon it was only 2km away. It wasn’t long until we were officially being evacuated, and we all had to pack some things and drive to the next town.

But with a population of 4,000 people trying to drive on the same road at the same time, it was slow going. What was normally a 45 minute trip took us two hours, and we were ahead of the huge traffic jam! It took other people who left after us three hours or more.

The line of traffic stretched all along the highway and we couldn’t see the end of it!

When we finally reached the next town, we stayed for the night. It was the oddest feeling to be evacuated because of a forest fire, and to have no idea what was going to happen. We were relieved that we exited town safely though, because our town is the end of the line, so if our only highway out would burn, we’d need planes to get everyone out.

Thankfully, everyone was able to get out safely.

The next day, we met up with our friends and stayed at a campground, where it turned into some peculiar sort of holiday. In a way, it was fun to hang out all the time and be at a beach and swim, yet there was always an unsettling, uneasy thought in the back of our heads. Home.

The smoke and water bombers. Photo credit: Nick Zook

Every day, we’d hear updates about whether or not it was getting under control. Sometimes it sounded like it was going well, and then other times we’d hear about how the wind was just making it worse.

Fighting the fire. Photo credit: Nathan Clock

On Sunday, August 16, the town announced that everyone could go home and the fire was out!

It was almost bittersweet when we packed up our camping stuff and piled in the car again. So, so grateful that we could go home again, but also just sad that the time with friends had to end.

However, after six days of camping and no showers, it really was amazing to get back and see our home again, completely untouched by the fire.

In fact, the entire town was safe, and we’re so thankful to all the people who worked to put it out, as well as the people who helped the evacuees!

The rest of the month was pretty hectic. Our family had to recover from that week and then settle back into a routine again. There were some other things going on as well that made it doubly hard to get back to normal. I was planning to write this post earlier, but I decided to wait until I started school. We started yesterday and I’m doing grade twelve! I’m choosing to homeschool again and work a few days a week.

Now, what did I mean by the power of fire? Well, I think part of it is a little obvious. It kicked a town of 4,000 people out of their homes for six days and got close (2kms away from town) to burning things down.

However, I’ve been seeing things in a different light since the evacuation. Four things, actually.

Humans can’t control everything.

This isn’t news to me, but I keep needing this reminder. Covid-19 was a strong reminder to this too, but also how quickly a fire can just sweep in and change everything. I never thought I’d be evacuated in all my life.

The forest fire started the day we had to evacuate. It spread in hours and there was not much the fire department could do other than continue trying to put it out. Fortunately, the wind changed, we got rain, and they did put it out. But had the weather been different (and that totally depends on God), everything could’ve been different. God was completely in control of that situation and there was nothing we could do aside from Him.

Store your treasures in Heaven.

Admittedly, I have an incredible amount of things I think I need in my life all the time. I focus on the earthly, not the unearthly. The imperfect, not the Perfect. But that’s not how it should be.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin 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 (NIV)

When I got back from the evacuation, I went through the bag of “valuables” I’d brought along when we left, things that I didn’t want to burn. But this time I looked at them with a different mindset. It was a lot easier to declutter!

Of course, there are still things I would never want to burn, but I know not to hang on to them too tightly. My real treasures need to be in Heaven.

Don’t take things for granted. Life can change in a second.

My dad always says this. Something can happen instantly that would change everything for us. We need to be thankful for what we have in the moment, stop complaining and just be glad in the day the Lord has made. Today, I’m thankful for a house to come back to, a family that loves me, and a God that is in control of the future!

God would still be good and perfect and just even if the entire town had been destroyed.

That’s the thing. It’s so easy for me to say “God is so awesome” and “He wants the best for me” and all that. But… do I really believe it? I want to believe it, I think I believe it, and yet it’s so easy to say those things when He has blessed me with so much. I need to remember that even in the storm—even if my house burned down, even if something happened to my family, even if my freedom to worship was taken away—that God is good. I can’t comprehend His plan or His reasoning, but I can trust that He’s perfect, in all of His ways.

I hope, as I continue to remind myself these things, that I’ll get better at actively living them out. And I pray that reading this will inspire you as well!

Also, I just recently heard of the fire in Oregon. Please continue to pray for peace for everyone involved, and protection!

Thanks for sticking with me through my interlude of August! It feels great to be back at it again. See you next week!

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