As I wake up I hear my mom screaming and think to myself, “Why is my mom screaming?” I know I must get up and check on her. As I round the corner of the hall, I cannot believe what I am seeing. Flames–large engulfing flames–are taking residence in my living room. The living room is full of smoke and blazing hot. I see my mom standing on the other side of the flames in the kitchen. She is screaming and not making much sense. I think, “You must run to her!”
Have you ever touched fire? Some parts of the flame are hotter than others. Have you ever touched the hottest part? There is an intensity to the pain you receive when you touch the hottest part of the flame that is indescribable.
Let’s return to the scene. As I see my mom through the fire I quickly realize that she is disoriented and does not know what to do. At that moment I choose to run through the fire. In my bare feet, I run over the hottest part of the fire while the ceiling is melting onto my shoulders. Adrenaline kicks in and makes it hard to feel anything until I reach my mom. My feet are in excruciating pain so I drop to the ground. The fire is raging and eating up all that is in its path. “Mom we have to get out of here!” With strength greater than I have ever known I stand up, grab my mom, and run for the door. We make it outside and again I drop to the ground. My feet are in intense pain as well as my shoulder.
My mom says, “What about your brother?”
I respond, “Oh yes! My brother is in the house too.”
We begin screaming his name with no response. My mom is in a panic and runs to my grandparents house. I cannot stand so I begin to army crawl in that direction. When my mom reaches my grandmother’s house she enters the kitchen. She slides across the floor in blood–my brother’s blood. The ambulance arrives and immediately administers a morphine shot for my pain. The pain is so intense the shot goes unnoticed. As the ambulance begins driving to the hospital the amount of pain is simply unbearable. What is a 5-10 minute drive feels like an eternity.
When we arrive at the emergency room my brother and I are in the same room divided by what seems to be a sheet. He tells me he loves me and then he is wheeled away into surgery. The doctors then begin to work on me. They begin the excruciating process of cleaning my burns. This is the most pain I have ever felt in my entire life. I was seventeen years old when my house was destroyed by fire a second time.
As my mind returns to that man-made lake in Cleveland, Texas, God reminds me that He was with me, before I ever knew Him. We found out later that my brother had climbed out his window and was punching through glass in order to save my mom and me. A piece of glass broke and cut the main artery in his arm. My brother had surgery on his arm and is doing well today. In both events there was no loss of life but complete loss of both houses.
I wonder as you stepped back in time with me, are you able to see God? I know that this trip back through these memories have allowed me to see God’s saving grace in a new light. He saved my life from fire that destroyed everything in its path–twice. I know He saved me for a reason and I submit to His will. I ask, “Lord help me to tell the story of how ‘Your word is like a fire’” (Jeremiah 23:29).
***From “My Word Is Like A Fire” by Alison Veazey and Kerry L. Skinner ©2019 All Rights Reserved.