Faith in the face of the Fort McMurray Fire

Landscape_view_of_wildfire_near_Highway_63_in_south_Fort_McMurray_(cropped)I just left a CBC radio interview on the Fort McMurray fire. When the reporter asked about the role that faith is playing in these catastrophic circumstances, I said that I was seeing faith at work everywhere;

  • In the trust that dislodged individuals were showing as they accepted a bottle of water, some gasoline or a tow from total strangers while stuck in gridlocked exodus.
  • In the mostly calm obedience of every Fort Mac resident as they followed the directions of civic leaders and emergency response workers.
  • In the strength that so many unsettled souls embodied as they were willing to believe all of the tweets and Facebook posts saying, “We’re with you… you’re not alone…  we’ll help you through this!”
  • In the hope that many displaced residents are now placing in their insurance companies; trusting that their coverage will be good, and that their insurers will come through and make them whole again.
  • In people’s willingness to be physically taken in by others; to be sheltered, fed and protected by individuals, families, and even oil companies!
  • In the town of Fort McMurray’s trust in the promises of a province that is trusting in the promises of a federal government that is trusting in the hearts of all Canadian people, to be there over the long haul.

Through all of these supports – all of the compassion and love, the time and energy, the people and organizations willing to ‘love their neighbours as they love themselves’, and to ‘do unto others as they would have them do unto them’ – I’m seeing God at work.

Sure, God has been working through a few faith based institutions as well, but I think the biggest moves of God this past week have been made through everyday people, organizations and government agencies, all doing what they were meant to do; all bearing God’s image in all of these loving ways.

  • God cares about our basic needs – our thirst, hunger, need for gas, and a place to sleep – and he meets these needs. 
  • God intervenes, protects and gets us to safety. Through firefighters, who do all they can to shield us and selflessly run toward the flames, and through police officers who serve and protect us in the exodus and now watch over our vulnerable neighborhoods, God keeps us.
  • God has huge resources; When all of Canada steps in like it has, or Fort Mac residents benefit from all of the insurance premiums we’ve all paid, we are are reminded of God’s communal power, and the huge scope of his love!
  • God takes strangers in; the needy, the suffering, those without a home. 
  • God sees what’s happening; like how the world has been watching this past week.
  • God’s cares about people’s stories; like how reporters have been. God gets the news out about the needy, he knows what they’ve gone though, he names their pain and suffering, and records all of their tears.

So yeah, faith has been expressed and responded to in many beautiful ways this past week, mostly outside of the institution of the church. 

image – Wikimedia

2 thoughts on “Faith in the face of the Fort McMurray Fire

  1. Rev. George Holthof, Evergreen Community CRC

    Thanks Pastor John. Well said. We saw and experienced it all first hand as we, along with all of Fort McMurray, were being evacuated.

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