When the News You Get is “Bad.”

The phone rang, and I heard my son rushing to get dressed.  It was different than when he would get ready for school.  There was an urgency in his actions that morning.  His dad was already up waiting for him to go hunting on the morning after Thanksgiving.  The sky outside my foggy windows was just beginning to show a lightness from the sun that would soon appear.  I covered my head back up with the blankets and thought about all the shoppers and the hunters that were making journeys into the early morning darkness.

But Adam wasn’t going hunting, he didn’t have on his hunting clothes….he had been called out to a fire.  At 16, he volunteers at the local volunteer fire department.  He stopped at the door and turned back.

“It’s Mrs. Sandra’s.”

My heart dropped.  News that someone is in trouble hurts your heart, but when you personally know that person…your heart breaks.  I started praying.  I jumped on FaceBook (the source of all news) to see if anyone else had heard, and I put out a simple prayer request, since I didn’t know all the details.  I prayed it wasn’t major.  I gave Adam a little while to get to the fire and do his thing before I texted him for news.  His response was simple.

“Bad.”

My mother’s heart kicked in, and I wanted to be there for my son, who was responding to a fire at the home of his best friends.  My friend’s heart kicked in, and I wanted to be there for my dear friend.

I started getting dressed.

When we pulled up, the yard was full of emergency vehicles and cars from the volunteer fire department.  They had gotten there first…but it was too late.  The house was already engulfed in flames.  We found Sandra and her children covered in blankets watching their home of over 17 years burn to the ground.

“Why?” (When just the night before her entire family had gathered for a Thanksgiving meal in the same house now holding fire within its walls, that she had a cleaned for days before the event and had all the leftovers in the fridge.)  “Why was God doing this?”  I held Sandra as she cried out, knowing that God loved her, but not understanding why He allowed such pain into her life.

And then she started remembering everything that was in the house, now gone forever.  Treasures from her mother and father in a chest–all she had left of them.  TJ’s things were lost, her foster son who had been killed in a car accident just a couple of years ago.  All of Travis’ and Justin’s boyhood memories from the past 16 and 17 years.

Treasures that had been passed down to her.  Treasures that she was saving to pass down to her children.  She could see every one of them in her mind and where they were in the house, as the ceiling caved in and the walls started to fall.

Her sons watched as the metal frame of their beds crashed into what used to be the living room–the only thing recognizable from their room from the second story.  Their father held them, as only a father can hold sons that are young men.  Stressed relationships were put to the side as he once again stood by the side of the mother of his children.  It didn’t matter at that moment that they had divorced when the boys were little–tragedy brings family together.

Just a few short hours before, she had posted on FaceBook all her blessings from having the family together in her home and pictures that she had taken with all her children and grandchildren.  Now they all stood in the yard with her.

Her blessing list had changed in the matter of a few moments.  But as the sun started to shine through the black smoke, she was reminded over and over again that she was loved by each person that came to hug her and offer their help.  She was reminded that what mattered the most was standing in the yard with her.  Her children…her friends.  She even reminded us that God can bring good in all situations.

God was still in control.

And as I stood watching a home being destroyed, I thought about Mary.

She was in the midst of God’s will for her life–for everyone’s life!  Mary nearly lost her husband, probably lost her family–all to do what God asked.  She gave up the comfort of her home and rode astride a donkey in her final days of pregnancy and then had to give birth alone in a barn.  Strangers came to her instead of family….and they came with the news that the king wanted to kill her child.  She had to leave in the middle of the night, to a strange place for who knew how long.  And yet….

Luke 2:19 HCSB Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them.

All Mary had in the world was wrapped in a blanket in her arms and leading the donkey.

It was enough.

It was what would be passed down from heart to heart for more generations than her young mind could possibly ever imagine.

After the shock subsides and the pain over what was lost eases, Sandra will continue to pass on the one thing that can never be destroyed…..

He was wrapped in a blanket and laid in a manager….in tomb…for you…for me.

I know that many of you have received a text, a phone call, or a doctor’s report that simply was “bad”.  You’ve been knocked down to your knees and all you can do is cry out to God and ask “why”.  In all honesty, you may never have the answer to the “why”, however, never forget that God loves you and He will love you through the trials and tribulations that come.   He can give you a peace that is the foundation that keeps you from sinking into a pit of despair.  He is with you.  He understands.  He is wrapping His arms around you.  He loves you.


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  1. Great post, Deborah. Just two weeks ago I was traumatized by events, loss, and grief that left me asking the same question – why, God?

    It still hurts, but God comforted me in that time and continues to heal and comfort me today. Praise Him.

  2. This was beautiful. You paint such beautiful pictures for the mind’s eye with your words. You are blessed with the gift of writing and sharing your faith. This article truly blessed me and will give me food to ponder. My son is a Lt. in the city Fire Dept and I could relate to your son going to the fire..he had also been a volunteer when a teenager…it is his life calling and all those that fight fires for the rest of us are a great group of individuals…Your analogy with Mary was so touching. Thank you for sharing…

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Holly Smith and A Martha Heart, A Martha Heart. A Martha Heart said: When the News You Get is “Bad.” http://goo.gl/fb/TxXqS […]

  2. […] I got this text yesterday from Adam after he had left the house before daylight to respond to a house fire.  I’ve shared some of my thoughts on that at A Martha Heart. […]

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