I was only a few blocks from my house. Adelade and I were painting daisies and roses with a sweet friend from our church, happily engrossed in the tiny lines and intricate details of the veins of green leaves and the brights of pretty petals. When we heard the first sirens, we silently noted while we worked that something must have happened in our small town. Sirens are rare here.
When they came right by our friend’s house, we looked up with curiosity. Then more sirens started. More vehicles came rushing by in a speeding parade. I began to get a little nervous, since I had left three-fourths of my heart at my house that lay in that direction. Chad and Emerald and Sawyer were happily camped out in the living room when I last saw them.
My friend suggested we step outside to see where the emergency vehicles ended up. We walked to her yard, straining to see where the commotion was. I could tell they were near our house, but I couldn’t see exactly where they had stopped. Adelade was in a full-blown panic by this point, certain that they were at our house, and I could see neighbors coming out of doors, heading in the direction of our front yard.
I left Adelade with my friend and began walking toward the flashing lights. After about a block I could see that the police cars and ambulance and fire trucks were actually descending on my yard. I broke into a run, praying out loud, God, please. God, please. I know that He heard the pleading of my spirit, even though no other words would come.
Every terrifying scenario you could imagine flashed through my mind in the thirty seconds it took me to get to the house. I wondered which lifeless body I would be greeted by as I rounded the corner.
I finally made the last shaky turn around the side of the house, and there stood my three precious ones, excitedly taking in the commotion with the rest of the neighborhood. Other people that I know and love were standing under the big tree that shades our front yard, but I didn’t see a single one of them. I was whispering thank yous to the God who sees.
And I was trying to breathe again.
The problem was at our neighbor’s house. A small electrical fire in the attic. The fire-fighters took care of things and left in a quiet manner, no sirens, no fanfare. Just parking the truck back at the station and heading home to eat dinner with their families. Heroes on call.
I walked back to my friend’s house, where my shaking hand picked up a paint brush and continued working. But, my mind was stuck in the sprint to my house, the desperate prayers, and the what-ifs. What if I had rounded the corner to be met by a dead baby on a stretcher? Would my trust in my Savior hold fast? Would my firm belief that He is good and fully in control stay planted in my soul, where it feels like the roots are dug deep?
I pray so.
Pain and death and longing and desperation are all marks of life on this planet. He is glorified in all. More desperate prayers arise in my spirit: Prepare me for the troubles of this life. Give me a hope that endures. Help me to focus on eternal things. And, show me how to trust You above all.