Chase, Ry, Oaklyn, and Palmer sit on the curb across the street from what once was their family home. Wrapped in shiny silver blankets, they watch firemen soak smoldering beams that bore witness to every inch the girls grew. Beams which had cradled every memory of scraped knees, Barbie doll camping trips, bedroom ceiling constellation mapping, birthday parties, and wonderful family holidays. One brave fireman stomps his dirty boot on top of the handmade quilt the family got for Christmas from Grandma the year before she went to be with the Lord. Tears roll down Ry’s face as she thinks of her mother’s boney fingers hand-stitching each square with love. She thought that quilt would be around forever.
Truth is, they took most of their belongings in the house for granted; it’s not difficult to be complacent with possessions because of how easily obtainable everything is these days. There won’t be an Amazon truck dropping off a quilt that can ever replace the one they lost. Nothing will ever replace all the memories that went up in flames.
Their neighbor Mrs. Ramsy, whom they drove to church every Sunday, must have called the pastor. Chances are, she fired up the prayer chain, calling a good portion of the congregation to ask for prayer and support. Pastor David parks his car in front of them and runs out to give them a giant bear hug that somehow holds the four of them. They let go, crying uncontrollably in his arms. He takes them home, feeds them, lets them clean up and put on fresh clothes. They will now live in the basement apartment he AirBnBs. It is fully furnished and even has some food in the cupboards and fridge. He assures them the Lord is with them and that God promises to take care of His children.
When Chase and Ry wake up in the morning, the girls are already up. As they eat breakfast they talk about all their favorite toys and clothes now turned to ashes. “I know it’s just stuff and it’s not like we’ll take any of it to heaven with us, but it still makes me so sad thinking of never seeing my favorite teddy or Grandma’s quilt again,” Oaklyn says with tears welling up in her eyes.
With a loss for words, Chase and Ry walk into the kitchen and hug their kids. Trying to be strong, they fight back tears and tell the girls that everything will work out as God has planned it, even if they don’t understand it at this moment. “One day we’ll look back at this and it will all make sense,” dad assures them.
“I hope so,” cries Palmer, “because none of this makes any sense to me. Why would God let this happen to us?”
Two years later – Chase wakes up to laughter and children playing outside his window. He slides on his flip-flops and walks out of the bedroom, into the small kitchen. “There’s coffee,” says Ry, knowing it was probably what he was staggering through the kitchen to get.
“God bless you, I was up way too late last night,” Chase admits. “The village huts don’t build themselves, you know.”
“I saw you guys finished the church too. It’s all coming together here!” Ry says excitedly as Oakley and Palmer’s soccer ball flies in through their front window, hitting the wall near Chase’s head. “Incoming!” Ry says with laughter. Something that would never fly in their old home. “I’m so glad they have so many friends here.”
“Yeah, there are no bullies to worry about like there were in the States either.” Chase admits. “And the girls have led almost half the village kids to Christ. They’re even starting their own youth group!”
Ry’s eyes shift to their open bedroom door. A quilt with burnt edges lies on the foot of their bed. Through joyful tears, she thinks of her mother and how happy she is that they were able to save some of the quilt; how happy she is for the new life that God gave her – the one He had planned for them all along.
Weekly Bible Verses: Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. -Romans 5:3-4 NIV
Note to Nibble: Stay strong in the Lord and don’t give up in times of suffering, for your character, hope, and faith are being refined.