What A Year
On 30th August 2015 in the early hours of the morning, my church caught fire and was completely destroyed. The auditorium was gone along with offices, the coffee shop, hair salon. We awoke to the news via Facebook that there had been a fire and church was cancelled. As the pictures emerged and there was a report on the local news on TV, so it seemed very bleak.
It was so upsetting to have your church gone. To me it felt like God had gone too. I had so many memories of meeting God in that building, my baptism, my daughter’s baptism. Tears had been shed, Jesus had been worshipped. Good times, bad times… so many memories. As our pastor later said “Buildings don’t change people but what happens in them does.” What an awful day.
However God is faithful and what happened next was amazing. A prayer meeting was called for the Monday night and in the building next door (which the church owned, having bought it several years earlier but it had stood empty) about two hundred of us met to pray for the future. The Tuesday night saw another influx of people as calls for help to paint and clean to transform the building were met. The whole week saw volunteers change a grotty old space into a new place of worship. Help came from the church, local churches, national churches and the wider community. People painted, cleaned, provided drinks, cakes and money. The response was awesome.
Friday night saw another prayer and praise meeting in the new transformed space. The presence of God was tangible. We all took off our shoes as it really felt like we were standing on Holy ground. We worshipped God Who had been faithful. He had provided a new worship space. We thanked our leaders for leading us. We were all so grateful to so many.
We had moved from the black Sunday to the glorious Friday. I had a real taste as to what the disciples must have felt on the black Good Friday and then the glorious Easter Sunday.
The first Sunday worshipping in our new space was awesome. So much had happened in the week to transform not only a building but hearts too. My heart was so thankful to God for His provision. All those years ago when my church bought a building not really knowing why. God knew then that we would need it. Nothing surprises God. He sees the future and He makes provision for us in even the blackest of times.
The year since the fire has been so incredible. In December the new worship space was knocked through into the room behind as it was too small for the needs of God’s people.
We have grown as a church but my faith has grown too. I feel closer to God. The fire shocked me with the emptiness I felt. God was not in the building. God was not in the fire.. God was in my heart, right where He’d always been. It took a fire for me to realise what I should have known. I am so grateful and thankful to God for His faithfulness and His love and His provision.
We are all on a journey. My journey has been incredible this last year. I am excited for what the next year will bring.
As our pastor said “the building burned and the people caught fire.”
I am on fire for Jesus.
To God be the glory.