One week ago, Saturday, August 27th, at around 11am, the area where I live was placed on Evacuation Level 1.
The Rum Creek Fire is burning in southern Oregon; and has burned more than 18,000 acres since lightning ignited the fire August 17.
msn.com says members of the Oregon National Guard have joined the fight by helping with safety and security at road closure points in the Merlin area. The Guard is also supplying a HH-60 helicopter to respond if any firefighters or support staff are injured and need to be flown to a hospital.
We have had thick smoke and heavy ash. And not just ash. I took pictures of my back deck that Saturday morning, showing who blacked Madrone leaves, half burnt pine needles and large chunks of ash that still had some woody debris attached. I praised God for keeping us safe through the night with all that flying hazardous debris.
I had company coming for lunch that day. After they left, I began packing the essentials; you know, just in case.
After about ½ hour I looked at the garage door and their stacked in front of it, for easy loading, I had begun to place the things I felt I would need the most:
Large bag of dog food
Large bag of cat food
Several cans of wet dog food
Several cans of dry dog food
Large box of kitty litter
Clean spare litter box, wrapped in a clean garbage bag
Rags and wet wipes
Large Dog kennel
Dog Leash and Lead
I stood there looking at what I had done first, and it made me chuckle. Priorities. At least my animals would be taken care of.
Next, I headed to my bedroom.
I took a large duffle bag down from the top of my closet and unzipping it, revealing several other empty duffle bags. I got busy.
I strategically placed a bag next to my office file cabinet. One next to my photo albums in the living room. One next to my bathroom first aid supplies. I took one to my closet. I began packing shoes.
There was the pair of shoes I bought specifically for the play I was in a few years ago, The Prodigal.
There was the cute, pointed-toe, printed shoes I bought two years ago on a whim. (they are terribly uncomfortable, but they are cute!
There were the clog-types shoes I bought downtown 20 years ago.
Brown shoes, black shoes, dress shoes, walking shoes, cowboy boots, dress boots.
I got them all in the duffle bag and I just stared at the open bag in my hands. What am I doing?
I will never wear these shoes. Some of the shoes had cobwebs and all the shoes were dusty. I had not worn most of them in over 1 ½ years due to my Achilles tendon injury (Or whatever is going on) and the terrible pain I have in my heal.
I am packing for the possibility of having to evacuate, and the ultimate possibility of a wildfire roaring through my woods, and I pack a bag of old shoes?
I quickly turned the bag upside down, spilling the shoes all over the floor of my closest and I moved on to more important things.
I put all the bags next to the front door and determined that if we went to level 2, I would load my Jeep.
By that evening we were at Level 2, and my Jeep was loaded.
I want to tell you, during that whole process, and even today as we are still at Level 2, I have felt a peace that the world does not give. God used that opportunity to really speak truth into my situation and I listened. “It’s all ash someday. What’s important right now?” “We’ve been through this before, we can do it again?”
I was able to pray “Lord this is Your house and Your property.” Protect it as You see fit.”
Where is your treasure? Jesus told us that where our treasure is, that is where our thoughts and motives will also be. Luke 12:34 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Are we more concerned about our earthly ‘stuff’ or, our heavenly future?
We read in Matthew 19 the story of the rich young ruler. He had approached Jesus and asked, “What do I need to do to have eternal life?”
Jesus told him to keep the 10 commandments. He replied “I do all of that. I have since I was a kid.”
The rich young ruler then asked the ultimate question, “What do I still lack?”
Noticed Jesus didn’t tell him to see all his stuff to be saved, He said, “If you want to be perfect.”
Matthew 19:21-22 NKJV “Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
That young man passed up the greatest opportunity of his life. He gave up eternal life because his earthly treasures meant too much to him. Earthly treasures that someday soon would be nothing but ash.
Jesus is our reward friend! Nothing compares to Him. Jesus and what He has planned for us…Nothing compares. When this dark veil is lifted and we can see with bright, clear eyes, we will see that nothing was, is or ever will be more important! Nothing will make you richer, nothing will give you the peace and comfort that Jesus brings. Nothing will satisfy like Him.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV
I remember buying my first nice stereo system. That was back in the day when you could do Lay Away, and I paid on that every month for almost one year until it was paid off and I could pick it up and bring it home. It was so beautiful. Tall black speakers flanking a tall black rack. Record player, cassette, AM/FM radio. I arranged it just so in my living room and began playing beautiful music.
My oldest son recently reminded me of a memory of his: me cleaning on a Sunday morning with the Oak Ridge Boys or Alabama blasting from my stereo in the background.
But, the first time we went away for the weekend, I was worried about someone breaking into our house and stealing my new stereo. I mean to tell you; I was really worried. I remember thinking, it was almost better before I bought it.
The more stuff we have, the more worry that comes with it. Is it properly insured? What if it breaks? What if someone steals it? What if the house catches on fire? Flood?
Worry, worry, worry, over stuff; stuff that will all be ash someday.
Worry. Fear. Anxiety. Sadness. These are all emotions that come from the devil.
The Bible tells us that God does not give us the “spirit of fear”. If we put our complete trust in Jesus, the spirit of fear cannot live in us.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Have you ever been out of your mind with fear? You can’t think straight. I have. I was pulling out of my driveway one morning and looked back at my house to see flames, shooting out of the chimney 20, 30 feet. Scared me to death. And I could not think straight. But that’s another story for another time.
Your heart is pounding out of your chest. You are sweaty and irritable, and feelings of doom and helplessness may wash over you. That is NOT from God.
God has given us power and love and a sound mind. The devil gives us the spirit of fear.
Whether you are packing for a Level 2 evacuation or wondering how your light bill will get paid, show God, you trust Him. He can give you a peace that the world cannot give.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV
What do you lack? Is it faith? Here’s the beauty of that. Just like Peter, Jesus may say, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” But just like Peter, Jesus will first reach out his hand and take hold of yours.
If your world feels like it is sinking in a raging storm, cry out to Him. The Creator of all, can demand the winds in your life cease.
By the way, the latest on the Rum Creek Fire as of yesterday, Monday, September 5th is this:
The size of the fire is approximately 20,029 acres. There are close to 1,840 people in our area dedicated to fighting this fire. It is about 34% contained with an estimated containment date of Monday, October 31.
The fire is firmly established on both sides of the Rogue River from the Grave Creek Bridge to Galice.
The fire has not progressed to the north of the Rogue River from Rum Creek to Grave Creek nor to the south from Galice to Indian Mary Park.
To the west, progress has been checked from Galice to Bear Gulch and above Quartz Creek but is still burning freely towards indirect line, which is west of Montgomery Creek.
On the east side, fire suppression effort is on-going from the Stratton Creek Drainage to the head water of McKnabe Creek and northwest to the mouth of Grave Creek.
Some spotting and slop over has hampered suppression effort. Ongoing suppression efforts will limit potential of fire to become more active. https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8348/