So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
One evening a week ago my phone began to ding and then to ring. An apartment building in our community was engulfed in flames. This is a place we know very well. In fact we have assisted at least four of the residents in the last year.
It all hit home for me yesterday. One of the residents needed help moving some furniture in to her new apartment. We secured the big, white box truck and got a few extra hands to help. Some of the items being moved were coming out of this lady’s old apartment that was damaged due to the fire, smoke and the water used to put out the fire.
Have you ever been through a place that has been ravaged by fire? That smell sticks with it. The smell invades your personal space and can even lodge itself in your lungs and beyond. My clothes smelled like smoke. We moved a few items from this lady’s apartment. I then went to the adjoining apartment that belonged to a young man, like 22 or 23 years old, that had been homeless just a month before. My heart was now touched by the fire.
A few minutes later I went around to the front of the apartment building to a place where a lady lived that we helped about 6 months ago. Not all the 12 apartments were completely destroyed, but none of the apartments will be able to be fixed. The building is a total loss. Again, my mind was filled with images of the fire, and my heart torn because of the precious people whose lives have been touched by the devastation of a fire that began late one Wednesday evening that left them changed.
In the last 7 days we have helped 6 of the 10 residents that lived in the building. Some of them had a plan and were beginning to work their plans for a new home in another building or another place a few miles away while other residents were lost and remain that way. My heart goes out to them.
I am grateful for all the people and businesses that have given items and time to help these people. We can either turn our heads and walk away, or we can shake the hand of one of these folks or give a hug. Do something.
There are opportunities all around us, and yesterday was full of several for me beyond this fire. I talked with a man who shared his fear of suicide during his darkest days. Later in the day I met with a lady who has been living in confusion, but God has begun to open up blessings for her and her family. Julie and I talked with a young person whose dad passed away in an accident just a few months ago, and it was eye opening to here this young person tell us how even in the pain they have seen some light but need much more. We stopped to pray for their family that continues in the dark.
Pain is all around us. Whether it is the friend who has encountered fire or some one you just met that is struggling, God will use you to bring light and strength to the people we meet. Use what God has given you, a heart of compassion and His love, to help another person step forward.
So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.