Not all things are good…. However…
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. [Rom 8:28 NLT]
Recently, I had the honor of serving with Operation BBQ Relief and their deployment to Gatlinburg, TN. The wild-fires devastated the community leaving thousands without anything…. Here’s one story…
It was about day 3, early in the morning and very chilly. We had turbo heaters roaring to keep the cook site warm and people were all gathered around, huddled up to try and remove the chill. I was walking around, checking on pits and noticed a family standing there, mom, dad and 3 daughters. They looked like the hundreds of volunteers we worked with, waiting for the food line to get set up for serving, so I initiated a conversation…. Being the “funny” guy that I am… I noticed that mom (Sharon) was wearing flip-flops, so I make the joke…”hey mom, it’s probably not good parenting and decision making to be wearing flip-flops in weather like this… just saying”. She, very politely responds, “Our house burned to the ground, we lost everything and had to leave with what we had on and this is what I was wearing”.
I immediately felt an inch tall and apologized profusely. Sharon and Terry were so nice and didn’t take offense, quite the opposite. They joked about their situation as well, using humor to navigate them through their personal disaster. Their story, was like so many… They were just about to go to bed with no fires around them only to see smoke trickling down the hall. A neighbor pounds on the door screaming that they have to leave…NOW!!! They had 5 minutes to grab the car keys and get out. When they went outside, the fire was all around them. It had instantly jumped to their location being driven by 80 mph winds. Had they gone to bed, they never would have made it out alive.
As we stood around the heater, they shared that they have lost everything, however, what is most important is OK. They have each other and the children and all of the, “things” can be replaced. Terry was joking that he was actually thankful that he didn’t have to move all his tools again, and the lawnmower that was melted, was for sale with the note, “ran good the last time I used it”…lol.
We shared life with each other and became friends on the spot. I worked to encourage them even though they didn’t seem to need it, and were more encouraging to others. That outward focus, that desire to get away from their situation and help others, reflects the true love of Jesus Christ and I was so blessed to have God cross our paths.
It didn’t take long, and somebody found Sharon some shoes and socks to put on and stay warm. The recover process will be long and slow, but Jesus loves those who look outside themselves in the toughest of times and will be there with them every step along the way. Operation BBQ Relief is an amazing organization dedicated to being there in the worst of times in people’s lives to give them Hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Jeff Loves Jesus and since being saved... born-again... my desire is to work for Him in whatever capacity that becomes. :)