When the Storm Brings Fire

Gwen Smith Blog, Devotions, Fear, Trials, Trusting God 27 Comments

Thunder cracked the sky when a lightning bolt ripped through the roof of our home, igniting a fire that redefined our normal that Tuesday night in March 2017. The house snapped dark and shook. It was as if a bomb had gone off.

“I think we got hit!” Hunter screamed from the family room. We hurried outside to see if it was true. Our neighbor Jeff ran across his yard to ours yelling a confirmation, “I think you got hit! I saw lightning hit your roof!”

The next few minutes were a blurry race against the clock. Get the dogs out! Get the cars out! I’ll grab the computers! And that’s pretty much all we had time for. The flames and smoke kicked us out of our home and far from warmth or comfort.

Sirens roared. Red lights flashed.

Fear and helplessness stood in the rain right beside me as I watched it all play out from across the street. My feet were naked. In the chaos and commotion, I didn’t think to put any on. Someone noticed and placed a pair of leather boat shoes before me. I had no idea whose they were, but I gratefully slipped them on.

The minutes seemed like months in the moments between the arrival of the fire fighters and the point at which they had the hoses hooked up to a water source.

Hurry up, guys!

Flames raged wildly from my closet window. The house glowed bright with orange. Was this really happening?

Two trucks. Three. Four. Firemen running and shouting. Police on the scene. News cameras and reporters.

Why was it taking so long?

Neighbors everywhere. Soaked. Stunned. Standing in support. Offering prayers and a place to stay. They’d all felt the earth shake within their homes when ours was hit.

Once the fire was contained and fully out, we were allowed to go back in to grab a few personal items. It was almost 1am. Darkness hung thick in the air. It’s standard procedure for the power to be cut, so the firemen led us through the ashes, debris and water with handheld lights.

Our upstairs looked like a smoldering freight train had passed through, hurling darkness and destruction. Soot and debris were all around. Water and smoke everywhere. And ashes. Heaps and heaps of ashes. Could this really be our home?

Yet God’s peace was in the midst of it all, calming me. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1b-3a).

In that season of ashes God bid me to trust Him. Time and time again. In the frustration, exhaustion and tears. As I spent time in prayer, I sensed Him inviting me to trust His timing, His plan, His sovereignty and His ability to restore and make new.

The Lord went on to tell His children, ” This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:16-19).

What former or fiery things have left you dwelling on the past?

Is there something or someone the Lord is bidding you to trust Him with today?

Maybe yours isn’t a house fire or literal ashes, but a prodigal child, a crumbling marriage or an aging parent? Maybe you’re passing through deep waters of a health battle, unemployment or a financial burden.

God is at work in the middle of every struggle and storm. Even when questions loom and pain is present. He is faithful and powerful, able to do more than you and I can ever ask for or imagine.

Let’s ask for and imagine a fresh rising of strength and hope today as we trust God’s goodness – even when our circumstances burn like fire and smell like smoke.

 

Dear Lord,
You are faithful and good at all times. Thank You for promising to never leave or forsake Your children. Please strengthen me to face the fires before me today with courage and honor. Help me to trust You.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

Read what God told His people in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

How does this speak to you today? Tell me or write a prayer of response in the comments section of my blog.

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Comments 27

  1. I needed this today. Thank you for the reminder. Although fire may come and the water may rise,God is with me. He knows everything before after and during. I love that He loves me. It’s all for my good and His glory. He’s helping me to see His glory through it all.

  2. I have faced so many challenges throughout my life. Children with health issues when they were young. My first born developing Huntington’s Disease when she was only 23 years old. She battled for years, bravely, with grace. She went with Jesus a month after her 40th birthday. I stated in a loveless marriage for almost 29 years. Only to be conned and cheated by an experienced narcissist. I have been battling recurring ovarian cancer for seven years . At every turn though, I was never alone. God brought me through it all. Even when I didn’t know it was him, I knew he never left me. I just didn’t know why. I rededicated my life to him right before my cancer diagnosis , and began a whole new relationship with him. I’m so happy I did. Without him I never would have survived these past years. I truly love him , and love he is in my life. It’s by no means perfect. But there is a better peace in my heart. Even through the rough patches. I know that he has a good plan for me. He always has. I just had to learn what that meant. No matter what happens , I know I never face anything alone .

  3. As I am reading this my heart breaks for your story🥺
    At the same time, I needed to hear this as I am awaiting to be call in for a breast biopsy.
    God was speaking to me through you….thanks Gwen❤️🙏🏻

  4. In 2001 I experienced a similar incident. Mine was water not fire. After a week of rain off and on, on Friday the storm stalled over Houston and hundreds, perhaps thousands of homes were flooded. It was said that it was a “500 year flood”. When it became apparent that I needed to leave my home (water was up to my knees), my next-door neighbor started out down the street to get in a friend’s truck in order to get out of the neighborhood. The water was chest-high; I can’t swim. That passage from Isaiah 43 ministered to me. Also Nahum 1:3b: “The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and the storm.” All of my neighbors and I lost most of everything we owned, but God preserved our lives and our health.

  5. Dearest heavenly Father, I am at this point not even sure where and how to start my trust in the midst of the storm. All I keep on keeping on is telling you…. I TRUST YOU WITH MY ALL.

    Thank you God. In Jesus’s name I pray.

    Amen!

  6. My house was struck by lightning a few months ago with the resulting fire, and the feeling of displacement is so strong. Knowing – trusting in the sovereign God who called me out by name is such a comfort, even in the midst of insurance battles, contractor struggles and having others control your circumstances / living location, etc….. and yet God is in control, even when I fuss about about it a bit. He reminds me that obedience is sometimes hard but peaceful…

  7. It so amazing how your daily topics and message usually bring so many memories of situations I encountered in the past. Some people tend to forget their past but truthfully your past pains remind you of the Mighty God we serve. His love for us is so strong that even in our storms of fire, God is protecting His children. I am always eager to here your stories and how God has moved in your life. You are an inspiration and every message encourage me to express my love to Him. So grateful…

  8. Hi Gwen, thank you for sharing . I know God wont leave us ! I was hit by a scam and it ruin my family. 😢😢😢 i am Good enough to believe him and never thought that he was a scam . I believe GOD wont leave us .please pray for me and my family !, I pray God for Abundance and prosperity.. A new opportunity of Good paying Job . So that I can pay all my debts. Merry Christmas 🎁🎄 and a happy new year to you and your family . I Thanks
    God for his blessings! In Jesus Name i pray Amen 🙏

  9. Thank you for this blessing. Our daughter is an addict and left treatment ….again. She is in jail tonight, but after that? God told me a few weeks ago to let her go and live my own life, but this is yet another kick in the gut. How can this be my child?! I am grateful for the reminder that He is with me and with her.

  10. Oh my goodness!!! Wow! What a fiery trial that must’ve been! Thank you for sharing!! Wow, I’m in tears just reading this! I’m so glad that you’re okay!!! You’re so beautiful inside and out! I’m so grateful for everything, I’ve got a son going thru really tough times right now, I have pain in my body and so does my husband but I’m praying and believing God will see us through it all! God bless you and your beautiful family! 🙏🏼✝️❤️🙌🎄🎁🤗😘Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family and ministry.

  11. This really hit home for me, I have been dealing with some issues with family for some time now and this really helps me to feel like this was for me today. Thank you so much. I feel God reaching out to me through this session

  12. Heavenly Father, I lift my son Cory and his family up to you. I thank You for the gift of his life. You know the situation. You know my mother’s heart is breaking, just as Mother Mary’s heart broke as she watched Your Son and hers be torchered and killed. My son’s mind is being torchered by the evil one. His life is slowly being snuffed out by the struggles he is enduring. Send Your Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us. Help me to entrust my son to You, as You love him more completely than I do. I humbly come before you through your son, Jesus. Amen

  13. Hi Gwen..

    Thank you so much for sharing your story…

    I love the way you impart such faith to us in knowing how you trust God… how HE tells us not to be afraid because HE has us in the palm of HIS hands.

    I’m trusting GOD at this time for my children who all know the Lord but are not serving HIM.. sadly to say my Daughter (youngest) has left her Husband after 8 years of marriage (GOD knows all her reasons.. and unfortunately she has moved on to another man) but we are trusting GOD for a reconciliation of their marriage!.. Please pray with us as I know HE can do the impossible!

    Our 2 son’s need GOD too.. so we are believing for them too.

    Have a Blessed Christmas..

    Luv
    Vee Gloy

  14. I was “retired” from my job after being furloughed due to Covid-19. I was not old enough to retire. I had neck surgery Sept. 21st and started having numbness in my left hand 2 weeks after surgery. The numbness has gotten to the point that I can not grip a napkin from a napkin holder. As of the end of the year I will no longer have insurance. I am now old enough (62) to draw my retirement but it is not enough to cover my monthly bills or any insurance. Just feel like giving up. I get these devotions daily but just skip over them but today I decided to read it and it made me cry. I know I need to trust God more but easier said then done.

  15. I too lost my home, in a sense. Was blacklisted by fmr emplyr. Had 6 jobs in 6 yrs, never before. I’m living in Trinidad in dad’s. I miss my Condo so much. A lot of things were done to me, to force me out.
    I lived alone, pre menopause, addicted to xanax and beyond stressful job. I printed an email that said some employees were cheating. My life since May 2012 became a living hell. My fmr emplyr is friends with the police, everyone. I’ve made about 10k since 2019 to now. I didn’t know ppl cud be this way but I found out. They cud of asked me for it. Now I’ve lost 2 cars, 401k and u need a car in Fl to work.
    Did this really happen to you Gwen Smith?

  16. Hi Gwen, Thank you so much for your writings and your Graceologie podcast. I’m always encouraged by your teachings. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. I just listened to Francine’s podcast and can’t wait to see the movie.
    Blessings to you.

  17. Dear Gwen
    Your testimony of God’s peace as you watched your home burn, is certainly His grace & mercy in the midst of that trial. I would love to hear the rest of the story of what happened.
    Thank you for your inspiring words to so many.
    Have a blessed Christmas & a wonderful new year.

  18. I Know God has called me to be a preacher I am a Certified Lay Minister. Going on my second year as a pastor in a local church. But I can’t marry, or baptize.I can’t bless the Communion. The verses that you had Isaiah 43:16-19 is the word the Lord gave to me. I don’t have a degree. Yet my desire is to do better become a Minister and to be in a higher position in my job.

  19. Hi Gwen , Powerful knowing that God has us through every situation. He always wants us to draw near to him in good or bad. He always has something better for us. He is our father and he is the best . Thank you for reminding me of all that he is. God bless you and your family ,have a Merry Christmas And a Happy New year.

  20. Good morning!
    For quite a while I have enjoyed your e-mails and marveled, not only at your writing skills, but also and most miraculously at the message I needed to hear. I have also participated in several Psalm Adventures and thoroughly enjoy the coloring!

    Once again, your message is perfectly timed. I thought you might like to know that today’s reflection in In Touch (Charles Stanley) is titled “God’s Provision in Storms.” He refers to Matthew 14:22-27 and summarizes with”: Jesus intercedes for us; Jesus is our protector; and Jesus is sovereign over all storms. So cool how these two messages align.

    I am curious what business you and your husband are working on…you mentioned it in one item I’ve read and I haven’t noticed anything sense.

    Thank you for all you do.
    MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family.

    Very sincerely and in Christ,
    Jan

  21. Your comments came at just the right time. My Mom’s body was buried yesterday (she is a child of God so is in Heaven, free from this world). Yet, I remain, alone. My siblings have their families, jobs, homes, children and live one and two hours away. Their lives go on. My Mom and I both felt the Lord shutting the doors on jobs for me and showing me I was to be home to help my parents. After over a decade, that job has now ended, my cat had to be given up to family in December of last year, and was put down for medical reasons in May. Relations with family are difficult. I need employment but it is hard to explain the last seventeen years of my work history. I continue to trust God even when it looks bleak. My years on this earth have not been easy and I have watched the doors shut on me, not open for me so it is hard to keep trusting the Lord but it is what I need to do and so I am trying.

    1. Dear Lynette, I can understand what you’re saying. So many things happen that in and of themselves are not what we call good.
      Unemployment, depression,drug addiction, loneliness have been present in my life. I don’t want them, didn’t ask for them, but somehow…I know God is good. In his beautiful creation and what He did in Jesus Christ, and many helps in my life. Life is nothing what I want it to be, but God is real.

  22. Wow! This is deep and resonates with me on so many different levels. It confirmed a revelation so immense found in Hebrews 11:6 and John 15:4, 14. A confirmation of my trust in Him as I clasp my hand in His, knowing that He’s right there with me even in the midst of the challenges, chaos and uncertainties. I don’t want to let go of His hand. I can’t; I want to experience Him on this journey as I clasp tightly to His unfailing love and promises. Incredible to have Him lead the way as I walk alongside Him, knowing that His plans for me are good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11).

    Praise God Almighty!!!

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