Sep 24 2014

The Lord was not in the fire.

Fire Sky

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19.11-13

Every year the Methow Valley deals with forest fires. Last September we traveled to Washington for my little sister’s wedding. As we were pulling onto Gold Creek Loop road we caught a helicopter dipping water out of the river. It was a site to behold. Everyone was praying that the fires would be put out. The morning of the wedding we woke up to rain which helped calm the fires but the wedding was outdoors. The bride was choosing to put her trust in God, even though emotions were high, that it would all work out. With the fog, the mood & lighting for the photography was perfect and just as the ceremony was about to start the sun popped out making it one of the most beautiful ceremonies ever in my parents front yard at Dove Mountain Ranch with the North Cascade Mountains as the backdrop and Jesus as the center.

This year when we got the call that there were fires in July, it came as no surprise. We had been through this before, no biggie. Well, it turned into a biggie. We kept in touch as the fires burned and last I heard they had to evacuate. Then we heard there were no lines of communication. Some of you may know the feeling when you know loved ones are in danger and you are half way across the country with no way to hear their voices. Thankfully we did have a couple very special friends that kept us in the loop with texts. My parents {Bob & Betty Gibson} were safe. But my parents’ neighbor, who was retired military and a Gold Creek angel, was fighting fires harder than most young men ended up having a heart attack and passed. His passing left a hole in many hearts around the neighborhood, he is missed. Amazingly enough this was the only fatality in fires that took over 200,000 acres, 300 homes, and who knows how many outbuildings and livestock.

After the fires came the floods. With everything burned up of course we all prayed for rain (without lightning). Well, it came and came and came. Flash flooding throughout the valley took what the fire left behind. God isn’t that enough? Being half way across the country and not able to help physically was a burden to carry, I had to hand it all to God and trust Him in all of this.

My parents and neighbors evacuated the Gold Creek area and stayed at their RV park in the town of Carlton. Next text I got was ‘Gibson house is miraculously saved. Wait til you see pics.’ Then we heard that the fire took my dad’s cabinet shop, an old barn, log chicken coop & their wood shed which sat right next to my parents’ house. Of course we are all so thankful that they still have their home and know that others were not so fortunate. But my dad did lose his cabinet shop, which is his way of living. He and my mom have said it is just strange. Mom brought a chair home for dad to fix… well, he no longer has tools or a shop to fix anything. He thinks about going out to the shop to use a tool or build something for the house and remembers it’s not there anymore. We can only imagine how those feel that lost everything.

This is a picture of my parents’ house, you can see the dark spots where the flames ‘kissed’ the house. By all natural explanations their house should have burned too. Not sure why it didn’t and why others did. But I trust God.Dove Mountain Ranch - house not burned

Not only did God carry my burden and give me peace that He still is God and I can trust Him, but we have so many people that love. They really love, like Jesus does. Nate Laun took off work and headed over the mountains to help fight fires. He headed back home only to get supplies and a cell phone that worked for my parents before heading back to the Methow. A family friend came over with a generator, gas and supplies. Friends from Camano Chapel came over as well with money and supplies. I don’t even know all the stories of how people showed up. But they did and helped in whatever way they could.

My parents own the Carlton RV park with a restaurant/bar that they use for The Local Church and in the midst of this disaster their building was used as a relief center. Little did they know when they bought the place a couple years ago that it would be used for this. But this is their heart. They both love people and will use anything they have to help and share Jesus. At one point I called the church and my dad answered the phone. He sounded excited, there were people coming in and out and I could hear the joy in his voice. This is what he was made for, to share his life and his Savior.

These are a couple pictures of where the shop and barn used to be. And that little log cabin that has sat there for over 100 years still sits there.
Where Bob's shop and barn once stood.
View from the hillside.

The dust has settled, reality sets in and people are cleaning up and rebuilding. The Lord was not in the fire, He is in the whisper. And He whispers to each and everyone one of us, you can trust Me. I love you.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10.10

People have come to help my parents clean up the mess, it is a lot of work and they are so appreciated. Our own angel here on earth, Nate, is so graciously heading up a group and raising funds to rebuild dad’s shop. He has plans ready and is working on getting a team together. You can check out all the info on the facebook page he set up {click here}.

Thank you for taking the time to read this story. Thank you also for all your prayers. Even though the fires are gone the Methow Valley has a long road ahead, rebuilding and restarting. I don’t understand why all this happened, but I do know that we have a God who loves us so much and I do know that we can trust Him. He will bring beauty from the ashes, of this I am sure.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3.17 & 18

Now this is my account being half way across the country. I haven’t even seen the effects of all this disaster with my own eyes yet. As I was writing this I had a hard time keeping my eyes dry. I cannot even imagine going through it all, I don’t think anyone can who hasn’t experienced it. There are so many stories to hear, I would love to hear yours.

photos by Nate Laun.


Comments...

  • Gena Carrico Says:

    That was a beautiful story! We have an amazing God!

  • Renee' Gwaltney Says:

    Good words Britta and precious heart for your parents, their ministry and legacy, their God, our God who walks us through all our fires delivering us without the smell of smoke! My life verse at age 14 having survived a house fire that started in my room as a young girl….”He gives me beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, praise for heaviness….” The other you referenced “though the fig tree fail to blossom…the one the Lord gave me at age 29 the day our son was diagnosed with a life threatening and progressive disorder and I took my husbands hand and said we need to go to our knees and worship! So thankful the Lord was not in the fires and that new fires of revival will be fanned and come forth in time, in HIS PERFECT TIME from the grievous losses that have been endured. Blessings and Peace on you and your love for Jesus beloved Gibson Family!

  • Austin from Montana Says:

    I had the pleasure to meet your father, just a few days before he lost his cabinet shop. I was intrigued with his various signs and yard ornaments proclaiming his Faith. Unfortunately, I was not able to assist your family that day… but, we did have the opportunity to visit a few days later. “Perhaps the Lord has something else planned for your future” I managed to squeak out to your fathers grieving heart. I felt a bit like Peter I suppose, knowing that perhaps my efforts that day, might have led to a different outcome. After all, we passed near Dove Mountain Ranch just moments before the fire engulfed numerous outbuildings.

    I suppose…No, rather I KNOW ‘that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God’ May the Lord continue to Bless your wonderful parents and use this as an incredible witness to HIS Glory & praise.

    “…And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us…” Paul’s letter to the Romans

  • bbadmin Says:

    Austin… Thanks so much for posting. We do trust God in all things. And your words are a good reminder and so encouraging — sorry I am just now seeing this post.

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