|(Photo: Brian Holt) from WBIR.COM|
I was sitting in my chair working on Seminary work this Thanksgiving morning, when my phone rang and one of my Church members asked me about a house that had burnt down in the early morning hours this morning. She was checking on my family to see if we were okay since the house was on the same road that we live on and that our Church is on. This was the first that I had heard of it.
When I got off the phone I immediately jumped in the car to find out where the house was and if I knew anyone that lived in it. The house was less than a mile from us. I was unable to get close to it because the fire dept. had the road shutdown in both directions. I went back home and tried to get more information on the police scanner and through the local news. I read in the news that a lone man had survived the fire. When I read that my heart went out to this man. I didn't know him, in fact, I didn't even know his name but I was burdened for him.
As I sat in my comfortable chair in my nice warm home with my computer in my lap, the Lord kept speaking to me; "Go find that man." I almost felt like Paul being beckoned by the man from Macedonia to come and help. I jumped back in my car and drove back to the house. By this time the fire dept. was gone, there were no news crews or photographers, there was only a handful of family members that were going through the rubble that was still smoking, looking for anything that they might be able to salvage. I inquired about the owner and they pointed me to a vehicle in the driveway where I saw an older gentleman sitting in the passenger seat eating a sandwich. I approached the vehicle and he opened the door. This was the man the Lord had led me to see.
I introduced myself, letting him know that I was the pastor of Highland Baptist Church, just down the road. He looked up at me as tears began flowing down his cheeks, he grabbed my hand and said. "I've lost everything." My heart was churning for him. He proceeded to tell me that he was also legally blind. I began telling him that I had been praying for him and that I was thankful that God allowed him to get out alive. By this time he was sobbing and he said "please pray for me." As I stood there in a muddy driveway in 30 degree temperatures with snow flakes falling around me, I held onto his arm and petitioned the Lord on his behalf. It was at that moment that I realized that this was the worst and the best Thanksgiving that this man had ever had.
I am reminded of a verse of Scripture written by David in Psalm 69:30: "I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving."
This may not have started out being the kind of Thanksgiving that I am used to or that I even wanted, but I am thankful for the Lord's blessings. Houses and things can be replaced but you only live once here on this earth. We should take the time out today and every day to be thankful unto the Lord and magnify his holy name.