It began to rain! Not some pleasant shower but huge drops that fell from the sky with an audible plop. Several hours went by and the rain didn’t let up. The streets were flooded the power went out and that’s when I began to be really concerned. What was happening at the Mission station? Here in Fresno we pray for rain but on that night I prayed eventually that it would stop.
The phone rang at 2:30 in the morning. It was the fire department and there was a problem at the church. The fire captain went on to say, “No, that’s not fair to you pastor. There is more than just a problem the reality is there just isn’t a church anymore. Sorry pastor.”
The rain had not stopped and since the town was in the river bottoms all that was left of that little church we had worked so hard to make a place of worship was now only a dilapidated bell tower. But, in reality, that wasn’t why the emergency crew was calling. The issue was some of the residents who would not leave and there was a real danger of them being seriously injured. So…the fire chief asked for me to come quickly.
They took me in a boat to what used to be the edge of town. There sitting on the roof of his house was one of the patriarchs of the town. I said, “Grandfather, you need to get off of there before you get killed.”
He replied, “I won’t! This is the first time in our lives we’ve had a real place to live. This is the first time our children have had a place to go and have fun and learn about God. Don’t you get it pastor? This is all we have and now it’s gone.”
I reached out and said, “Come grandfather we will go together and see what God has for us. Maybe He has something better in mind.”
After all these years I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to learn about faith and about God is to watch people. Why? Because faith is not so much a matter of what you know as whom you are. It’s built out of relationships with God and others.
Many of the families stayed in that little town. They kept their families together and put down some foundations for their children. We cleaned, we hammered and with help from the county, churches and friends lives and structures were rebuilt. God honored our sacrifices and all the children in grandpa’s family accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior something he never expected to see in his life (By the way pews float).
Dear Lord and Savior help me reach out to others, to bring my best offering to You. Savior help me to demonstrate Your love through one specific act today! Thank-you Father for this opportunity in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
See you in church…