We have had several interesting experiences with fire and this fine Saturday I thought I would share one with you. You might consider this a new take on the term fiery trials.
Back in 1997 the civil war had just ended and the people of Gondor were in a fierce battle to see who would get a seat at the power sharing table. There was gunfire in the streets every night and many were assassinated or just burgled and killed. Usually the gunfire would pick up just after dark and continue until around midnight. Sometimes it went on until 2am but not usually later than that. One night I was awoken by a huge boom followed by a series of crackles that sounded like semi-automatic gun fire. I rolled over and noticed that it was 4am. I said out loud, 'Come on guys, go to bed!' Just then the phone rang. I then thought oh no! Is this something to do with one of our team! Sure enough it was Gimli who lived just two hundred yards up the hill from us. "Strider! Our neighbors house has just blown up. Can you get up here and help us get our stuff out of our house before it catches fire and burns down?" Gimli's house had an adjoining wall and roof with the house next door to him. I told him that it sounded like a lot of gunfire out there but I would try. I stuck my head of out our front gate and our street was quiet. I could see the fire raging up the hill with flames going up more than 50 feet in the air. I walked gingerly up the street. I know that 'gingerly' is not the right word- well, it is the right word but it was a silly thing to do! Anyway, I got to the corner and there was a guard outside a Red Cross house. I asked him what was going on and he said he didn't know. He had not seen anybody but it sure sounded bad up there. So, up there I went. When I got to Gimli's house I could see the problem. There was no gunfire. The fire was blazing so bad that the asbestos roofing sheets were exploding in loud crackling burst. I ran into Gimli's house and we started taking stuff out and putting it on a porch on the other side of the yard from the fire. I felt the adjoining wall with the house that was on fire. It was not hot at all. More than that the roof that ran as a single roof over to the neighbor's side was not burning. The fire stopped at the property line! We got everything out- including the extremely heavy 286 computer that I carried myself. To be fair Gimli told me to leave it. He was right, it wasn't worth it. But then the fire department came. I know I was surprised to see them. They negotiated with the neighbors for a price and then they put the fire out. Yes, you read that right. It turned out that the natural gas had spiked and their kitchen had blown up. The next day everyone exclaimed what a miracle it was that God saved Gimli's house. The fire was huge and hot and it had no effect on anything on Gimli's side. Gimli told the neighbors about Jesus and while no one came to faith right then it had to be a powerful witness. Gimli has never forgotten that I braved the seemingly dangerous streets to come and help him. Of course, I consider my most valiant effort that night to have been lifting that 286 computer.