It was early evening—a clear pre-dusk under our pure Michigan sky. Nancy and I had just finished a short walk and decided to take a spin in our little used, spare, get-around-when-it’s-warm-enough convertible. Living in the north, not many evenings present themselves quite like this. We really didn’t have anywhere to go . . . just decided a little fresh air blowing in our faces would be a tonic.
As we were backing out of the garage, a close friend who lives just a couple miles away texted: “Are you guys okay? I’m hearing sirens and see a plume of dark smoke coming from your neighborhood.”
Heading south on the two-lane country road, we soon came upon a scene that will be forever etched in our minds.
We could see the tower of smoke our friend had called us about. Less than a half-mile from our home, we reached the fire and I saw something I had only seen one other time in my life: a house on fire.
Sure, I’ve seen other fires where smoke was coming from a few windows, but this was not one of those little, inconvenient kitchen smoulderers. No, this was a house in flames.
Quickly pulling our car into the tall grass next to the road, we hurried to the front yard. Flames rocketed high in the air. The popping and crackling inferno was completely destroying someone’s home. It was a horrific thing to see.
Fifty yards from the burning house, parked in the corner of the large front yard, we saw what must have been the family car. Several folks were gathered around. Nancy and I walked in their direction. As we walked, we prayed that the Lord would help us help someone in distress.
I stopped walking, but Nancy continued, soon standing next to the woman whose house was being consumed. Tears streamed down her face as she helplessly watched her nest burn. My wife gently placed her hand on the woman’s shoulder, silently reassuring her that someone cared.
In a while, Nancy motioned to me and I came near. Gathering a few of the woman’s grown children around her, we approached The Throne of Grace.
I prayed for the family. I thanked our Father for protecting their lives. And I asked Him to give wisdom to everyone involved in the days ahead. The people hugged us, seemingly thankful for the moment of peaceful intercession.
Love is serious business. In the Song of Solomon 8:6-7, love is likened to a “blazing fire”—a mighty flame. Love is “as strong as death,” King Solomon writes. Nothing can quench it or wash it away.
We will hear the word “love” spoken today. We may even speak it ourselves. But, lest we consign this word to a child’s penny valentine or a whimpering teenager expressing himself in a text message, we must not forget its unmistakable power.
One day, “I love you” changed your life. Once single people, free to move about at will, “I love you” inextricably bound you and your wife to each other for the rest of your life. “I love you” gave you a child—a little person who relentlessly watches your every move, keeping you on the straight and narrow. “I love you” forced you to confront your closest friend with his dishonesty, his secret bout with adultery. “I love you” may have cost you that friendship.
“I love you” opened our Heavenly Father’s hand to welcome us—sinful as we were—to Himself. “I love you” gave us Jesus, who endured the cross for our sins
“I love you” is about the serious stuff of life. And love’s presence can be very tangible. Its impact changes people. Its radiating heat moves them back from their fears. It alters their plans. Sometimes it renders them speechless.
You love your family. Your family loves you. Love’s fire brings a new way of seeing. It changes everything.