I’m sure some of you have watched the videos, read the facebook and twitter postings from evacuees, and watched the news about it but there is a huge forest fire raging in Fort MacMurry, Alberta. The entire city has been evacuated. The city has about 88,000 citizens. Just let that number sit with you for a minute…. you could spend a week praying and still not get every person into your prayer, 88,000!
88,000 people got into a vehicle and drove away from everything they had… their baby pictures, their family heirlooms, important documents, their work, their favourite coffee shop… They left with less than 30 minutes notice. The decision was made and they had to go. Babies were born on the way out… amidst the chaos life was born and as a mother who has birthed four babies I cannot even imagine what that must have been like.
I read one post that said as he drove out with his daughter, she was happily playing in the seat beside him. The fire raged right beside the road reaching above the power lines and she just sat beside him chattering away. It’s a child’s innocence.
These families have had a tough year already with the dropping oil prices that have brought financial strain, a 30% spike in suicides and families breaking up. It hasn’t been easy on some of the best prepared oil field families, let alone those who did not prepare. And now this.
Amidst all the prayers I know people have asked where is God now? God how could this happen? Rarely He gets the credit but all too often He receives the blame. Well I have a belief that God is good always. I know this because what the Bible has taught me and He is walking those streets ahead of every fire fighter, paramedic, and police officer. He has been there with every single one of those 88,000 people who left it all behind.
From what I understand there has not been any fatalities which is a miracle in itself but what I love the most is the amount of people I see praying. I see things shared over social media that says Pray for Fort Mac, Praying for yym, pray for the Mac. Please please stop and pray when you see these posts because even though there is no way we can possibly cover every single one by ourselves, we can do it as the church.
“Please Jesus, be with them… carry them through now and months from now. When we have forgotten because our homes have not been destroyed but these families have not forgotten because they are still living in apartments, camps, or with family be with them. Be with them as they go back to the ashes to see where they once lived. Be with them as some return to their homes thankful to have it still intact. Be with them as they sit beside those who have lost everything, some things, or nothing because despite the damage the most important thing is that these people are safe. Be with them… because we know that you are there and we are so so thankful for that.”
I encourage you to make a point to remember these families beyond the next couple weeks. They need our prayers and our support for so much longer than just right now. And please pray for rain… Jesus bring the rain!