Fire!

Let me say at the top of the post that today’s subject – while incredibly realistic – is about a dream. A dream that I had last Saturday evening. For starters, I don’t believe that I dream very often. Or if I do, I usually don’t recall dreams in such vivid detail. And at least for this one, I know where the whole idea for the dream came from. Janet and I were having a discussion last Saturday morning about our childhood – growing up in Beverly Hills on the south side of Chicago. In fact, our grandparents’ homes were exactly 2 blocks apart. Janet’s grandparents, Stew and Fran, lived at 9516 S. Winchester on the eastern edge of Beverly, and my grandparents lived at 9716 S. Winchester, exactly 2 blocks south. In fact, my mother grew up in that house.

When we were growing up, there was a terrible fire about half a block down from Stew and Fran’s house. During the middle of the night, a family’s home caught on fire. Father and daughter got out safely, but Mom apparently didn’t wake up. When the daughter realized her mother wasn’t outside, she went back in to rescue her. Both mother and daughter were lost in the blaze – a real tragedy.

The fire was a local topic of interest for quite some time. The burned out home was eventually leveled and a new house built on the lot – Janet and I both remember it vividly. In fact, Janet even remembers what the daughter looked like. So I am sure that discussing this accident of the distant past accounted for my dream Saturday evening.

Anyway – to the dream… Janet and I, along with our three children, were living in my grandparent’s home on Winchester. While I know that this never happened in real life, in my dream, we lived there and it was winter. Apparently, there was a hole in the roof near one of the eaves and snow was blowing in through the opening. Not a bunch of snow, but a few flakes here and there. I guess that I went outside to get wood for the fireplace in the living room and while I was outdoors, I looked up and the whole second floor of the house was on fire. Maybe the snow shorted out some electrical wire, or perhaps it was something else, but the house was ablaze.

I rushed back in (sound familiar?) to warn my family and get them outside. Janet looked for the kids, but found them collecting their toys before they would leave the house. I was getting annoyed because all the “stuff” in the house could be replaced – after all, it was only “stuff.” But it was more than stuff to our children. From their perspective, it represented their lives and they just couldn’t leave without their toys and games. It seemed so silly to me, especially in the bigger scheme of things.

To cut to the chase, we finally got the kids out, all safe and sound. We stood on the curb, watching as the fire department arrived and put out the fire. It wasn’t a total loss, I don’t think, but there was massive damage to our home. All I could think of was how grateful I was that all the people got out with their lives.

Now that the dream is over, I got to thinking if that’s how God feels much of the time about us. After all, fire or not, we concentrate on our “stuff” and most of us put our things above our relationship with Him. We figure that the relationship with God will be there – that it can’t be lost, and so we focus on saving our “stuff” – just like our kids did in my dream. Now I’m sure that I would have done the same thing when I was a kid, so I’m not blaming them, but now I see things from a different vantage point. Relationships are what true living is all about – not the things that we acquire. But I didn’t learn that lesson until I was much older and more mature.

Maybe that’s what God wants us to know. As we mature in our faith, it should all be about the relationships that we have – first with God and then with others. We shouldn’t worry if we lose the other “stuff” – it doesn’t matter in the eternal scheme of things anyway.  God wants us safely with Him – out of danger from every source of possible harm. Only sometimes, we can’t see it – we’re focused on the here and now.

The verse for tonight is from Deut. 23:5, “However, the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.” The verse relates to how God watches over us and turns curses into blessings – because HE LOVES US. My encouragement this evening is to focus more on how much God loves you – because He does. My prayer is that you will not worry so much about the “stuff” of life – that’s unimportant – but will focus on your eternal life and thanking God that He is ever watchful that you are always safe. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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