What would you do in less than a minute. Update your Facebook status, check Twitter? Well, I just recently found out what I would do in a minute…
About an hour and a half ago, my mother and I were driving home from some pleasant Christmas shopping. We turned into our neighborhood (acreages) and two houses away from our home was a huge cloud of smoke. We had to pass this smoke to get into our house. When my mom and I were close enough, we saw what the smoke was from:
An entire house in flames.
We quickly called 911, who told us a firetruck was already on the way. There were three people standing 20 or so feet from the fire, in shock. We drove past them and quickly pulled to the side. My mom and I ran out of our car and up to the three people. One was a man in his twenties, maybe 19, who had been in the house and just recently got out, the other two were his neighbors. We ran up and asked them if they were alright. The young man seemed more in shock than the other two. It was his house that was ablaze, his parents’ house to be more accurate. He was trying so hard to speak, but he was just stammering. The only words I could make out were curses followed by apologies. It seemed like hours before the fire trucks showed up when in reality it had only been 2 or 3 minutes. While we stood there watching the house I had driven by all through my childhood go up in flames, I turned to here a soft sound.
Tears were in the mans eyes.
They were running down his cheeks. His expression was that of agonizing pain. I turned to him and said, “I know this might be awkward, but will you let me pray for you?”
Yes, the person who has been struggling and questioning faith so much said that, out loud. I haven’t been able to connect with God, most people know that, but right then, right there, I knew I had to pray. He smiled and said to me “yes, please”. I held him as tightly as I could, and he held me back. I whispered into his ear a prayer that I have never said before. “Please God, we need you now more than ever. Watch over this man, watch over his family, and guide us with your grace. Let your hand wipe our tears and heal our broken hearts. Let your love fill us and leave us without regret. Hold this family now and bless them with your presence. Please keep them safe. Amen.”
In less than a minute I said that prayer. In less than a minute that house went from secure, to ash. In less that a minute I saw the fire go from raging to dead. You see these things on TV, but you never think it will happen to you. No, I don’t know the full affect of this because it wasn’t my house that was on fire. But the fact that I was outside, in minus 20 something degrees Celsius, and was so numb from shock that I didn’t feel the bite of winter, makes it so much more real. But, as I mentioned in my prayer, we talk about grace. Where was the grace of God in this situation? The grace was seeing the firefighters haul out a cat, well alive, from the blaze. The grace was knowing that the one person who was in the house was safe. The grace was watching other people put their lives on the line to fight the burning rage. The grace was having a chance for someone with a broken faith call out to God.
So no matter where you are, grace can come in less than a minute.