Life goes along at a rhythm you know how to manage and expect. Then one morning your neighbor wakes you by pounding on your front door and calling out “your house is on fire!”.
And then, you are standing in your yard in the early April morning, barefoot, in your robe, watching it burn to a roar like you’ve not heard before. Sirens scream, blue and red lights flashing, dozens of people swarming in and around with hoses, pick axes, and cameras, shouting and calling out to each other. A neighbor gives you her slippers and wraps you in blankets. Another brings clothes and shoes for your husband. Others gather to stand with you and watch. The dark black smoke is burning your eyes. Someone from the fire department is asking you questions about how it started. And all the while, the roaring. The roaring, because Your.House.Is.On.Fire.
And then it’s out. More questions. The firetrucks are loaded and leave. Toast and coffee at the house across the street. The rhythm of the life you once knew and expected is gone. Life will be measured and remembered as “before the fire” and “after the fire”.
The fire was contained to the garage. The house sustained smoke damage throughout. The house where you fed, entertained and loved people. It’s now sooty, smokey, dirty and cold. People you don’t know have tromped through it looking for hidden fire. They’ve left footprints that can’t be cleaned off the floors. You will pack and leave. For unknown months. Because it is now “after the fire”.
“…Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
You know your faith, your trust in Him, is now not only being tested, but is on display for all to see and judge. You want to be strong and without care, because you know He’s got this. You want to, but instead, you can’t sleep, you are overwhelmed by the questions asked and decisions that need to be made, you can’t find a normal, other people are in control of the incredible slow moving process to get back home and you become impatient, the distraction you feel is like nothing you’ve known, you’re upset and dismayed, you act out at people, you want your life back. You are failing the testing.
Easter Sunday. You want to celebrate the Joy of His resurrection and salvation. You want to sing the songs of triumph. But you cry. You don’t know why, but you cry. And then He is there, wrapping His love around you like a warm blanket and whispering “it is finished”. Even if you have failed the testing, even if you are crying instead of celebrating, it is STILL finished. His love and salvation remain. Whether it is before the fire or after the fire, His love and salvation remain.
The lyrics to a song a Dear One shared with you come to mind: “It’s easy to sing when there’s nothing to bring me down. But what will I say when I’m held to the flame like I am right now? I know You’re able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand. But even if You don’t, my hope is You alone….Oh give me the strength to be able to sing it is well with my soul…It is well, it is well with my soul.” (Even If by Mercy Me)
And then you sing, because you know, He’s got it, He’s got you covered. And if it isn’t right today, it will be…well with my soul.