The loss and devastation of yesterday's raging inferno - all 11 of them - in Victoria's "Worst Day in History" hit home today, after we found out that a friend of ours lost their beautiful home, and effectively all their material possessions to one of them.
I'm in shock.
The reply on my phone reads: "but we are safe and we have the love of a God who doesn't make mistakes".
In sending the first prayer message out, I'd been almost certain - clearly mistakenly - that these friends would be protected and unharmed. So when the reply came back reporting the loss with such stoicism and continuing faith, all I can feel is unspeakably saddened, and humbled.
How could such a thing happen to such God-loving folks? Yet, for reasons that I will never fathom, it has. It's been allowed. And all we can, as bystanders, do, is offer whatever meagre help and consolation as we can afford. I'm reminded of Job's predicament in the Bible, and am careful not to seek or offer explanation as Job's friends did, but to pray instead and not stop praying.
We drove to a clearing at the top of the road near our house yesterday as spectators to the Jeeralang bushfires. You can check out the pictures on E's post.
It was hot - very hot - in fact the hottest on record here in Victoria. Windy too, perfect conditions for a fire to rage through the tinder dry bush. There was a sound in the air - not just of the wind - but from where we were also a distant crackling and loud whipping noise of an all-consuming fire, punctuated by the sound of fire-fighting helicopters and the occasional crack of thunder in the distance.
I remember remarking to myself - how persistent, relentless, all-devouring this fire is - a close approximation of Hell itself. According to the news, there was so much smoke generated by the different fires that it created a weather system of thunderstorms all of its own!
From our living room, Dylan also noticed a different sky from the one he's used to seeing. Taking my hand, he led me to the window and pointed to the sun, now reduced to an amber spot behind the cloak of a smokey sky, and said, "See sun! See sun!"