In Isaiah 54, the Lord declares: “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord”. He says that even when fear surrounds, His unfailing protection will keep us through it all. He assures us that “no weapon forged against [us] will prevail.”
When your community church experiences two massive fires within 100 years, you might have some questions. Worshippers in Wisconsin recently prayed over these very matters.
But as they gather themselves back up after the most recent devastation, there was something far more precious than a diamond found in whole — not part — amongst the ashes.
The heirloom affirmed God’s presence and revived faith amongst all.
Spring 2019 was nearly to begin and Plover, Wisconsin was ready for the season. It had been a long cold season and the hope of warmth was accepted by all.
But as out of nowhere, a devastating fire burned through one of the town’s historic church buildings.
According to reports, the fire began in the attic and quickly made its way throughout the entire establishment. Nothing significant was reported salvageable by many mainstream news reports. The building had been an important part of Plover since 1962.
But the congregation of Springs United Methodist Church have a different outlook on the story.
First and most importantly, no one was hurt in the blaze.
But also, a priceless heirloom that firefighters discovered untouched by flames brought bolstered faith to an otherwise hopeless sounding tale.
One Bible had now survived not its first, but its second church fire.
You see, the church, as it stood before the tragedy, had just been merged with St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in 2014.
That church had been a large part of Plover’s religious foundation for nearly a century. They brought a wonderful people together with Springs United, but also a very precious token of their faith:
On Easter Sunday 1959, St. Paul’s had also endured a fire in the same town.
All was lost — except one beautiful Bible.
This same Bible, stored at Springs United had beaten the odds and survived yet another blaze.
Judy Hill voiced the members’ greatest concern after the flames: “It’s a miracle that the Bible has been saved twice … It makes everyone feel good. Everyone was worried about the Bible. That was the first thing everyone asked about.”
The Bible was displayed in a glass case at the time of the fire. Firefighters found it quickly as assessing the rubble — easy to make out, as it was fully intact.
Everything else was lost to flames.
Tim O’Brien is the pastor at New Springs. He affirmed the congregation’s greatest hope through this time. On finding the Bible: “It’s a great testament to our faith that stands strong even in the midst of this.”
New Springs has not lost faith.
In fact, through this trial God has even made His presence known visually to the members and everyone around them.
No matter what, God is our protector; our very present Help in trouble. When we place our hope on the firm foundation, we can withstand fiery trials from the evil one.
Pray for the hearts at New Springs to be healed over the great loss before them.
Pray God allows fresh hope to spring in their hearts, and uses even such a tragedy for their good.
May God bless these people with an unshakable faith to rise and remember the victory of Jesus even when this evil thing has taken away their church building.
May they be reestablished in God as Home as they seek a new physical church home. Amen.