On the way to church this morning, we noticed a garage, barn, and workshop behind a house we drive past all the time had all burned to the ground. On the way home from church this afternoon, we stopped, introduced ourselves, and, in the end, ran home to change and eat quickly before heading back and spending the afternoon sorting through charred remains to find anything of value. We met an older Mennonite couple whom works from that charred shop making wagons, windmills, and wooden puzzles. All of their tools were burned, charred, and most ruined. As we sorted through what we could find, hand tools to carve wood became prized possessions – some of the few tools that escaped with just a few scars of a fire. Nearby, a file cabinet still smoked. Horseshoes, wagon wheels, and the metal remnants of that which once was were hidden among the ashes. The pet goat, muttering all the while in remarkable human-like form, nosed her way through the contents of the freezer.
It was so… sad. Homemade applesauce coated the sides of the chest freezer that… isn’t. Melted power tools, reduced to a puddle of plastic, and the rolls of wire that had been recently prepped as the windmill in the works was being made.
It was a lifetime of work, productivity, and skill – in a pile of rubble.
And yet, in all of that, the owner of it all, in finding a pair of pliers that had been sitting on a picnic table nearby and has escaped the fire, praised God.
Psalm 145:2 “Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.”
They complained never. They spoke of their faith often. They sorted, sifted, claimed thankfulness for the insurance company, and made plans to start again. Then, when we’d finished, they shared the watermelon they’d had sitting near their back door during the fire with us. The watermelon boasted the mark of the fire… and yet.