16 May 2010

Unending Love. Amazing Grace.

My family owns 30 acres in the Smoky Mountains.  Appalachians, if you will.  Their property touches the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Yes, it's gorgeous.


The Pioneer Woman talks about prairie fires a lot.  Some are set on purpose to burn the brush, some are on accident.

Know where I'm headed with this?


Do yourself a favor, and if the title of this post doesn't make any sense, then play this song in the background while you're reading this post.  Or do it after.  But this song is amazing.

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) - Chris Tomlin from Girded with Truth on Vimeo.

April of 2008 the county had just lifted a burning ban and my grandfather was burning some brush in a contained area.

This is very, very common in my hometown.

Then, just like that, one leaf blew away.  No big deal... that happens sometimes.  It usually fizzles out before it hits the ground.

It didn't.

And so began a week long forest fire.

My grandfather began doing what any skilled person would do and tried various ways to put it out at the beginning.

Then he realized it was bigger than just stomping it out, so he yelled for his neighbor who came running.  I forget what they did-- either got a hose or started digging a fire line.  It's all kind of fuzzy in my head now.

Then he did what any man does NOT want to do.  He yelled for his wife to call 911.

If you're a man, or know a man, you know that this is most definitely out of control at this point.

Not sure how much time elapsed here, but it couldn't have been long.  Fire spreads pretty quickly.  Especially with dead underbrush everywhere on a mountain that hasn't had a controlled burning in the better half of a century.

Controlled burning in the mountains used to be normal practice.  It allows for everything to flourish more the next year.

The next week involved lots of fire trucks from several fire stations all over the county.  A helicopter even dropped water on the fire at times.

No one died, and no houses were burned.

However, this toilet suffered some damage.  It was part of the only structure that burned.  A half built cabin of my uncle's.  He started it about a decade ago.  Not sure that he really intended on finishing it...

The next Sunday at church we sang 'My Chains Are Gone (Amazing Grace).'  Josh was the worship leader and I was doing back up vocals.

I got chills.

What amazing grace that was.  Although it was an accident and could have happened to anyone, my grandfather had grace cover him that day.  That week.

He had been airlifted to a burn center several hours away when it first happened because he had been pretty badly burned on his arms and legs.

Amazing grace.  He's fine now.

The chains that could have bound him in the aftermath of that fire.  That could have bound our whole family in hurt.  They were gone.  We'd been set free.

Our God, our Savior... He'd ransomed us.

And like a flood, His mercy rained.  That line always makes me tear up.  The helicopter.  It was like God's mercy flowing all over the situation.

Unending love.  Amazing grace.

Something that could have changed the face of my family forever... but it didn't.  Now it's a distant memory.  It doesn't stare us in the face everyday.  My grandfather is alive and well.  So is everyone else.

It's nice to stop and think about all the things that could have stopped us in our tracks, but didn't.  The simple things that we don't really deserve, but have anyway.

Unending love.  Amazing grace.

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