As of yesterday the Carr fire ranks as the 9th worst fire in California history.
Over 800 homes so far have been devoured along with almost 104,000 acres.
And it is now 23% contained.
Currently it is mostly burning to the north, but its gigantic dragon puffs and atmospheric layers of particle-filled smoke are blowing to the south, then turning to the east down to us, then on to Susanville and Nevada. Oregon, however, is getting smoked out too. Air quality all around us is “unhealthy,” and now there is a water advisory for us to boil the tap water for 1 full minute before we drink it.
It’s hard to comprehend that 77% of this three-story or four-story firenado-infested fire is raging out of control, storming through the dryness and the trees.
Yet I could become a Christian all over again by all the amazing evidence of biblical truth embedded in this crisis:
– The firefighters, each one made in the image of God, are serving as God’s vice
regents, slowly dominating the fire in places where they have resources to
extinguish it. For a towering fire with flames that dwarf telephone poles to
be conquered by human beings in a relatively short amount of time presents a
visual illustration of the truth of Scripture in Genesis 1:26-28 and Psalm
139: God created us to cultivate the earth and rule. We are fearfully and
wonderfully made. It’s amazing that the firefighters have contained this fire
at all. They get the credit, but God gets the glory because God created each
and every firefighter.
– The fire itself, as wicked as it seems, is a phenomenon. It blazes
relentlessly, yet quite involuntarily, by God’s design, it now provides a
blanket of smoke that shields us somewhat from the scorching Redding sun. It
was 9 degrees cooler on Sunday than it would have been otherwise because of
the thickness of smoke. It was 100 degrees, which is hot, but you can sure
feel the difference between that and 109 degrees, which is categorically
– When a fire is hot enough, it can produce pyrocumulus clouds that
literally form lightning–i.e., gaseous sticks of electric fire–within it.
And, yes, the Carr fire has been doing that. But God still has control of
the clouds (Job 37:14-16).
– I know it’s hard to swallow, but the truth is that Lord Jesus told us very
plainly that we would have tribulation in this world (John 16:33). When our
troubles in life are harsh, even cruel and unspeakably horrendous, we are
forced to make a decision–either to trust the Living God or not. When our
friends’ home burned to the point of sheer ruin years ago in southern
California, their thought was immediately to pray. So we circled up and
prayed, holding hands, in their yard, and to our surprise, the firefighters
expressed amazement. They had never seen homeowners bow their heads to God
in humility and thanks right when their house had just burned down. Our
friends’ observable faith gave the firefighters a vivid picture of Jesus’
reliable promise, “But be of good cheer! For I have overcome the world” (John
To quote Scott Peck, “Life is difficult.” But when we follow a Suffering Savior (Isaiah 53), it puts our suffering into perspective. Jesus howled and groaned with loud crying and tears to the One Who was able to save Him from death (Hebrews 5:7), but God let Jesus die nonetheless. However! It was actually through death that God saved Jesus from Death! Turns out, God heeded Jesus’ cries after all (Hebrews 5:7). Up from the grave He arose!
Because Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name which is above every other Name (Philippians 2:8-9).
If we humble ourselves, even in the face of the 9th worst fire in California, by
seeking God, Jesus says we will find God (Matthew 7:8). We have to seek God, not merely our own sense of relief. Nota bene: When we seek God, we get found by God, and there is no greater joy than that. The joy of the Lord outweighs all the pain and enables us to endure until God makes everything right.