We sat in our typical living room spots, my husband and I, bingeing something on Netflix as we unwound that late August evening.
“Do you smell something?” he asked.
I did. A slight husky smell of smoke. He looked out the back door and noticed our neighbors’ bonfire.
“It’s next door.” He shrugged and added, “Let’s go get the mail.”
We live in a tiny town, so tiny that we only have a P.O. box and need to go there to get our mail. It takes about seven minutes to walk the few blocks to the post office. We chatted as we walked through the cool end-of-summer evening. It was still light, 6:30ish.
The post office is next door to the local fire house. As we passed, the big doors were opening and our local volunteers were loading into trucks and pulling out.
We waved cheerily.
We collected our mail and ambled down the side streets heading home. The volunteer fire fighters were squealing into town, the blue lights on their varied pickup trucks flashing.
“Wow! Wonder where they’re headed?” we asked each other.
Two minutes later and around the corner onto our street we discovered that the fire was – US! Our garage was burning.
Long story short, the small blaze had started on the outside of our garage, perhaps from a stray ember. The fire traveled up across the garage ceiling and then into the great room ceiling. I located a kind neighbor who rescued our terrified Shih Tzu (those big men in yellow suits with oxygen masks tromping into her domain!). Then I could do nothing more than hold her and sit helplessly in the back yard swing watching smoke pour from our new roof, firemen bashing their axes through the great room ceiling, smoke ascending, water descending.
What does all of this have to do with God’s Word, you ask?
Well, for several days we waited for the restoration company to do their work and for the freedom to make our way into the destroyed great room. The overturned furniture bulged from under wet smelly insulation and soaked drywall. The computer I’d been working on was soaked. Books, papers, everything lost.
My Bible had been on a ledge under the coffee table.
This is the Bible that carried me through marriage and child-raising. The Bible that has pages stained with tears. It has underlinings, comments, thoughts, prayers, and dates when a particular verse resonated with a particular situation. It’s the past 30-plus years in a nutshell. I purchased this leather-bound copy right after we had completed the Life Application Study Bible in the NIV.
I expected the poor book to be soaked—a congealed mess of thin, Bible-paper pages.
Only it wasn’t. It survived. Its place under the table must have protected it from the worst of the cascading water from the firemen’s powerful hoses.
It has a slight smoky smell and its cover shows a few new dents. But the moment I saw it, I was overjoyed. Don’t get me wrong; I have other Bibles. I can buy more. But THIS one, this one holds much of my life between its covers, and it holds the promises that have helped me live that life to the best of my ability to honor God.
I’m not claiming anything miraculous; I’m just very thankful.
Even through fiery trials.