Friday, April 15, 2011

Five years ago today...

Five years ago today, I looked at this ugliness and brokenness:

My brother Jason and our cousin Tanner died in this fire. You can read about Jason in this post.

The little house that stood in this place went up in flames in a hurry--the fire probably started by a spark from a bonfire with friends during the evening. The house was engulfed in the early morning hours.  A house that had been a home to so many of my relatives over the years and was located about one mile from the home I grew up in.

It was Saturday morning, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
My mom called me at 5 am--we were already in Chillicothe, visiting for the holiday weekend.

"Tanner's house burned," she said. She told me that they weren't sure if Tanner and Jason were in the house and that they were calling all the friends to try to find out where they were. She would call me back when she had more information. I was confused, my mind racing, wide awake. She asked me to start praying.

When we hung up, I heard the voice of God. He didn't speak out loud. He spoke within me. It was a dominating and commanding voice, and it covered all my thoughts.
He said "I am the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow." 

While my mind raced with details of what to do and where to go and who to call... I could not focus!
I could not think, because of the Voice that would not quit speaking to me. Over and over, He kept saying "I am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow." I realized that those words were all I needed to know. While my mind screamed for information about what was happening in a fire a few miles from me, my heart knew that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow" was all I needed. I have never heard from God in that way since, but He knew that I needed His words at that time. He also knew that I would be listening.

We soon found out that Jason and Tanner were in the house. They were gone. Our disbelief and shock played with our minds. We could not see their lifeless bodies to help us accept. We knew what was true, but could not believe. While the world seemed to crash in around us, I kept thinking, "Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow." I will be in the palm of His hand. He will protect me while nothing else can. He will be my Rock, while all else crumbles.

Our world was dark and ugly and broken that day. Our loss seemed more than we could comprehend and more than we could carry.  At some point, I thought of that day, that Saturday we were trying to survive, as the day after Jesus died. It was, after all, the day after Good Friday. What must His family and friends have felt like? The darkness of losing the Savior of the world must have been unbearable. The pain of His mother...did it look like the pain I saw on my own mother's face? Did those who loved Jesus walk around longing to be with Him? Did they expect to see Him, only to remember He was gone?

On that Easter Sunday morning...the day after experiencing devastation...I realized that Jesus lives on. He bled and hurt and died, because of ugliness. Ugliness like the picture above. Ugliness like the feeling I had in my stomach. Brokenness of families who would never be the same. He could not be held down by death.

I realized He lived for me
He lived for me to be able to live on after tragedy.
He died, but lived on, so that I could find hope and go on with all the tomorrows He had planned for me.

Let Him carry you in your pain. Fall at His feet and weep. 
Cry out to Him with your tears and anger.

He makes all things new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

He comforts those who mourn. Matthew 5:4

He brings hope to the hopeless. 1 Peter 1:21

He gave us life to live abundantly. John 10:10

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, 
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

I am so grateful that my Jesus lives. 

I know that I heard His voice that day because of the ugly, broken, painful event beginning to unfold.
I know that I saw His hand at work in my life, as he taught me and changed me 
in the weeks and months after the fire.

I am sad today, because five years ago my loved-ones' lives on this Earth ended.
But I rejoice today, because I heard His voice.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
James 13:8


  1. YES! With tears I say YES! Thank you for teaching me Angie--He is the same yesterday, today and forever. What a true and beautiful piece.

  2. Thank you for the wonderful reminder of God's unchanging character. I am sorry for the loss of Jason and Tanner, but I am so thankful that God whispered so sweetly to you. Great post.

  3. Beautifully said. I love you, Dear Friend. HUGS! ~Donna Stone Garber

  4. That He loved you right through the hard. That He never left you. Thank you for sharing with us. 'Tis so sweet to trust...

  5. I can feel God's truth and grace shining through this post. Thanks for sharing with us...