by Emma Foster
Over these past few months, the country has faced the rapid spread of COVID-19. While many places have come out of lockdown, California, Oregon and Washington have also dealt with wildfires that have rapidly grown into the largest in the states’ history.
Many West Coast citizens have been evacuated as the fires are consuming their homes and businesses. Some of the on-campus Cedarville University students have heard of their families’ evacuations. “It’s tough. Everything was finally opening back up and now it’s closed down again,” said Kyle Brewer, a senior International Studies major from Portland, Oregon.
Julianne Croft, a senior Marketing major from southern Oregon, expressed the same idea when she found out that most of her hometown was burnt down. “You just kind of want to see the struggle and sorrow instead of what God is doing,” she said.
In a report released by California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, about twenty-six fatalities have been reported. 3.4 million acres of land have burned since the beginning of the year, with around fifty-five hundred buildings burning down. Warm and dry conditions have persisted, though some humidity has been reported as of late.
Despite the difficult year, Christians throughout the country have drawn closer together as a community.
“The pandemic and the forest fires can’t take away the church,” explained Croft when asked about how she sees God’s grace in the midst of two tragic events, “Followers of God can still share his love with others.”
Even in the face of such adversity, looking through the suffering and loss uncovers the depths of God’s grace in these turbulent times.
“Seeing hope and God’s grace in the midst of the destruction makes you more grateful for what God has given you,” said Brewer, “God is good regardless of our circumstances.”
Despite the multiple forms of chaos raging around us, Christians are placed on a sure foundation. Relying on God’s promises provides a sure answer for our safety and security, even if we lose everything. Croft brought up Hebrews 4:16 in the interview to describe this kind of security. The verse reads, “Let us then draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
“The name of God can’t be destroyed,” said Croft.
As the church comes closer together by remaining united in God’s grace, Christians remember that there is a reason for suffering in the world. Suffering can become a valuable outlet for reaching the community and growing in faith.
“God is good regardless of our circumstances,” said Kyle, “The church comes closer together and closer to God.”
In this mindset, there is hope in chaos and grace in struggle. Despite whatever is occurring in our country and in our world today, we must remember the words of Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Emma Foster is a senior English major and Off-Campus Writer for Cedars. She loves reading and writing, and she is always down for a good game of chess.