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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fire on the Mountain

It seemed inevitable. A raging grass fire would surely break out near a residential area. After all, Denver had experienced 23 consecutive 90-plus days with humidity hovering around 10 degrees. Forty days this summer brought temperature readings above 90 degrees. The intense heat had turned the foothills brown and dry. Rain is only a faint memory in this drought stricken year, the driest since 1928.

Yesterday, the inevitable happened. Dark clouds rolled over the foothills. Flashes of lightning lit up the western sky. At least one strike ignited parched grass near Green Mountain’s 6th Avenue Estates. Soon a jagged wave of marauding, angry flames rolled toward million-dollar homes. One home, called the hotel home by locals, was almost encircled by fire, but firefighters managed to protect it. As the fire advanced, residents packed valuables into their cars and wondered whether their homes would succumb to the inferno. Ultimately, however, the fire surrendered to the firefighters’ efforts. It left behind hundreds of smoldering, charred acres.

Today’s weather forecast offers the hope of cooler temperatures and rain.

Reports from the fire scene on Green Mountain brought back painful memories. Our family lived in the Green Mountain area for less than six months, and moved from our home to the back of a church August 5, 1973—25 years ago today. In case you are wondering, we did not live in a million-dollar home, nor did fire drive us out of our home. We lived a few miles southeast of the area that is now 6th Avenue Estates, and a flood forced us to leave our home. An underground stream had changed its direction and rushed into our home. For the record, insurance does not cover damage caused by underground water.

Yesterday, residents whose homes were at risk learned what I learned 25 years ago. Property and material possessions are vulnerable to sudden loss. I hope they also learned that only spiritual blessings endure. Perhaps we all attach too high a value to what we live in, wear, stash in the bank, and drive. We should rank such things much lower in value than what we have in Christ. As the apostle pointed out in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “The things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

May we keep everything in proper perspective!

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