Faith, Fire, and God’s Great Victory

I recently had to fight a massive church fire, likely the biggest I will ever fight in my career. As I think about all that happened, seeing the smoldering ruins where beautiful church buildings stood, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a few things.

The First Bossier Fire is a terrible tragedy. No one was hurt, and people will truthfully proclaim ‘It’s just a building’ but that building was built by human hands. Hands created by God to build things like churches which glorify His Name if the Body of Christ within operates according to His Word. I’ve heard many stories since about the memories people had in those buildings. My friend met his wife there, proposed to her there, and was married there. When we have fond memories of something tangible, it’s okay to ache for their loss as long as that ache doesn’t become an idol. That’s a little off track of where I was going, so bear with me as I correct.

Too often in great tragedies like this one, we focus on what happened and why. We look for reasons to pass judgement and focus on the bad. This was true even in Jesus’s day (Luke 13:4). What we focus on becomes our thought life and affects everything and everyone around us (Proverbs 4:23). We are aloud to mourn, we are aloud to root out blame when necessary, but our Good Father never intended for us to live in those distressful states of mind (Philippians 4:8). Doing so only leads to a negative outlook of the future, which leads to negative actions.

When I see this picture, despite all the tragedy, it makes me excited for the First Bossier Family. I’ve attended services there and read their Statement of Faith. I’ve seen the Body of Christ, their Church Family, live and breathe in a godly manner. I know the Spirit of the Living God dwells in His people in that church. I’ve seen Him bring about wonderful things through the ‘tragedies’ in my life, through the metaphorical fires and car wrecks that happened by chance, or were self-inflicted. I’ve seen the good He brought out of them for my sake. Like the good He brought out of Joseph’s time in prison, and the decimation of Job’s family and possessions (Psalm 105:19, Romans 8:28, Job 42:10-16).

So, all that being said, I can’t wait to see how brightly the Church Family of Bossier shines in the wake of this tragedy because of the Faithful God they serve and their earnest desire to be the Body of Christ to this broken world. I’m excited to see what good things God Almighty lifts out of the ashes of this terrible fire. There are too many verses about our faith being ‘tested with fire’ not to see the beautiful victory God is preparing for the First Bossier Family. In their hearts, they have doubtless already claimed that victory, but our God’s Power radiates through the physical world as well as the spiritual. I believe the physical victory of the First Bossier Church will affect lives in this city for years to come, all for the Glory of Jesus Christ. May we all mourn with them, pray with them, and then, after the Lord has restored everything that was lost, celebrate with them.

1 Peter 1:7
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

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