Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the fire overshadowed much of life in and around Boulder. Thousands of people were evacuated. 166 home burned. We had friends in the path of the fire. We knew many who were evacuated and waited to hear of their homes. Our friends Bob and Betty spoke with us on Wednesday morning. They are among the resilient who take the good with the bad in living in the mountains. Betty laughed as she said, "Well, we called the house this morning. The machine picked up, so we know it's not a puddle of plastic... yet..."
For them, the fire missed their home.
As the fire started and raged, a close friend of my daughters was evacuated. Both of my daughters dance with Sarah, and she texted them on Monday of her fear as the fire was very close when they evacuated. My daughter Rachel remembered a story that she had been told by her youth group leader Jamie. In the story, a pastor's home was threatened by a raging wildfire. His church members gathered around him in prayer as the fire raged.
When they returned to pick through the remains of the pastor's home, an amazing picture met their eyes. The black desolation stretched across the land from horizon to horizon. But there, in the middle, was an island of green surrounding the pastor's home, still standing.
With that picture of faith in her mind, Rachel prayed for Sarah and her family as the fires burned completely out of control across the hills. She asked God to do it again. She held that picture in her mind and prayed for the red-roofed home of her friend.
You see that home in this near-infrared image in the middle right surrounded by burned homes? Here's a closer view of that home, with it on the right hand edge of the photo:
The fire went around their home.
Asking, "Why?" is dangerous when there is nothing to be learned from the answer. In this case, the faithful prayers of a loving friend had an impact on the unpredictable path of a violent wildfire.
More about the idea of learning from the "Why?" shortly. For now, celebrate that sometimes amazing things happen.