Since the end of November last year, within my family and close friends, there has been a wedding, funeral, Christmas, New Year and then the fires. Thrown in the mix were other incidences, some of which were stupid and unnecessary, but were out of my control. There was little to no break between each and it seemed that every day brought something else. This was bordering on the ridiculous and I wondered how much more I could take. I wasn’t the only one going through it, most people I know were going through a similar type of storm.
Then on Friday 2 January a firestorm began in the foothills not far from our home. We were watching it develop, took some photos, but didn’t ever think we would get the call to evacuate. But on Saturday at about 2 o’clock in the morning we received the message from the CFS. We packed up our cars and went to a friends home near Gawler. Another couple arrived as well about an hour after us. In all there were nine people, one cat and two dogs in that house. None of us slept that night as we listened to ABC radio wondering if we might need to evacuate again. At that stage the fire seemed to be travelling toward us but still a reasonable distance away. We were so focused on keeping watch that we didn’t pray or do anything – we couldn’t. It was all consuming. We are now home safe and secure and the storm seems to have passed. Visions of devastation and stories of experiences are beginning to unfold, and I thank God that no one lost their lives from the fire.
After we arrived back home on Sunday, I remembered a dream I had back in 2010. I didn’t fully understand what it meant at that time. In the dream there were firestorms all around our neighbourhood and we had to keep watch and be alert. Then later I was in a house with other people a safe distance away. It was night time and we kept going outside, watching the sky for fire clouds. Then I saw to my left what I thought was a large dark rain cloud, but as my eyes adjusted it became clearer and seemed to have a pattern. This became larger and as it was filling the sky it came closer and closer until I could touch it. I looked again and saw that this was coming from a distant tree on a hill. As I reached out and touched one of the patterns, I discovered that these were large purple feather-like flowers. I picked one and pinned it on me. and as I did, I perceived that these were the blessings of God.
Now I know the full interpretation of that dream because we had been living it the past few months and the firestorms became a reality. Yet through it, I felt a deep peace. I knew we were going to be alright. And this is why we didn’t need to pray for ourselves. We were already sheltering under the shadow of God’s wings.
For about a year the Lord had been reminding me of Psalm 91 and I knew that there would come a time when I would need to rely on this message of hope to get me through whatever it was that would come. Psalm 91:1-4 says, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”
All those who had gathered together in the house that day had already made this a lifestyle. Even though our focus was totally on what was going on around us, we could do nothing accept keep watch, be alert, and do what we had to do. It was when we came back home that, because we were already living in His shelter, we realised we still were. Because we have been in that lifestyle, we know that God will bless us and protect us through all that stuff. Its a good lesson to keep going like that. When we live in that lifestyle the Lord responds to us with blessing and favor. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel the experiences or go through the storms but the Lord hears, honors, and delivers us when we are in trouble.
There’s a story recorded in Mark 4:38 which tells of when Jesus was asleep in the hull of a boat he and the disciples were in when they encountered a fierce storm. The disciples were panicking in the storm but Jesus wasn’t. Why? He knew that they were going to get to the other side. Because He knew that – He was in perfect peace. And that’s what he wants us to have. This story was written for our benefit so that we can look at it and realise that’s what Jesus wants us to have – perfect peace.
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.”
Last night I remembered some of the words of a song by Hillsong called ‘Anchor’ which says: I have this hope as an anchor for my soul; Through every storm I will hope to You. In endless love all my fear is swept away; In everything I will trust in You.