“This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before us.”
The echo of sirens and the howling of my dog shattered a restful sleep. I fumbled for the light and rubbed my eyes. It was after midnight. The sirens got louder and an instant later flashing lights were dancing through the curtains.
“Quiet, Lady, quiet,” I said to the dog as I reached for my glasses.
I could feel my heart pounding faster now as I looked out the window at a street full of fire engines, their crews moving quickly to position hoses and ready ladders. The house across the street was fully engulfed in flames. Neighbors were charging out of their houses, pulling on jackets and robes as they moved. I quickly dressed, put a leash on the dog, and joined the group in front of my house. Word got around: Everyone was out of the burning house and safe. The firefighters worked on through the night.
The next day, traffic picked up on Warren Avenue. The burned house, which was now half a shell, became a minor tourist attraction. The smell of smoke still lingered around the rubble.
“They ought to bulldoze the rest of it,” my neighbor commented as we studied the remains from the street.
For the next few days, the sightseers kept up their pace. Then things calmed down. The burned-out shell stood lonely and abandoned as people passed on their way to work and school.
One afternoon, as I returned from work, the Summer sounds of kids yelling, dogs barking, and lawn mowers humming were joined by another group of sounds. The buzzing of saws and the pounding of nails rang out loud and clear. The burned out house was now a beehive of activity. Ladders, lumber, shingles, paint – everything needed to rebuild was being unloaded.
Over the next several weeks, an amazing transformation took place. The burned out shell of a house, considered by many a total loss, took on a new life. Before long, the last coat of paint was applied and, as if to affirm a new beginning, flowers bloomed in the yard. The house that had risen from ashes to become one of the best looking in the neighborhood, once again became a tourist attraction. This time to admirers. To me, it became something else.
From then on, whenever I faced disappointment, I stepped out onto my front porch. From there I looked across the street to the house that was once rubble but became new again. It said to me, “You can start over. You can rebuild bigger, better, and stronger. As long as you have a good foundation, you can become new again.
You just have to believe.
And for a strong foundation and blueprints for rebuilding, look to the master carpenter.
Look to Jesus.
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