On the morning of Feb 14, 2020, I got a call that my parents were both killed in a house fire. In a panic we drove north to Park Falls, WI, 2 hours away. I was I the habit of visiting them once a week, as they were in their late 80s and needed a lot of help. I always listen to 89Q because the songs are uplifting and keep me strong in my faith. That day, the music was especially necessary as I struggled to process what was happening and was leaning hard on God for strength.
God is in complete control and his plan is perfect. But you might say, “How could a living God do something so tragic? Where was God in this horrible situation?” Let me tell you how we experiences his very real presence that day.
On Friday morning, my brother’s fiancé went to the house as usual to take care of dad. She found the house full of smoke, blackened walls, but no flames. The fire had remarkable burned itself out, saving the main structure of the home and many precious belongings including the family photo albums. Sadly the smoke overtook mom and dad and they did not survive.
She frantically ran out of the house and attempted to call 911, but found no cell ser5vice, which is typical for that remote area. Mom and Dad live on a dead end road and cars rarely come down their private drive, but that movning at that moment a propane delivery truck can driving by. She ran out to the truck waving her arms for help. The man radioed 911 and even ran into the house to see what he could do. He stayed with her and comforted her until emergency personnel arrived.
That day was long and horrific for all of us, but God was there. Family gathered and my parent’s pastor came too. We sat in shock and cried and prayed together. We waited for hours to get some answers.
After the investigation was finally over and we were allowed to go into the house it was dark. Everything was covered in black soot and the smoke smell was strong in the air. It was just too painful for me to take. I couldn’t look at it, so I ran outside to the truck.
I sat there alone in the darkness sobbing and crying out to God. “Oh God, I need you now! I need peace! Oh God give me peace!” I felt like I cound’t breathe. And then I noticed the radio was on, but the volume turned all the way down. It was still on 89Q. Whenever I drive north to see mom and dad, I listen to it, but it always goes out right before Minoqua, about 30 miles east. I turned the volume knob up, expecting to hear static, but the music came through loud and clear. The song that was playing was called, Living Hope. The lyrics spoke to me so clearly, every word reflected my pain and what I needed to hear.
How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation, I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is ﬁnished, the end is written
Jesus Christ, my living hope
Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope
God was there speaking those words to me with that song, reminding me that death has no grip on us. Christ gave his life to save ours, to set us free from sin, to give us everlasting life for whoever believes in Him. That is the promise we have in Christ. Because of him ,we have no reason to fear death. He has defeated the grave and so will we, if we have faith in his promise. I felt an immediate peace wash over me and I could breathe again. God was there holding me tight.
So were was God in all this? He was there when he put out the flames, saving many precious photos and mementos, He was there when he brought the propane delivery man. He was there playing that song on the radio. He was in the hearts of all the people who prayed for us and comforted us. He was there for every beautiful moment of our lives, and every trying, difficult moment as well. He was there when he took my mom and dad, together, hand in hand, pain free, to his heavenly home. And he’ll be there with us all, until we meet again.