The fires of life

Trusting in the Lord includes trusting in His timing and requires patience and endurance that outlast the storms of life. The Lord does not bring, but does permit, adversity in our lives for our spiritual growth and lasting joy.

The key is whether it draws us closer to God or makes us angry with God. Our challenge is to be patient in affliction and trust the Lord. The Apostle Paul said to the Romans, “…we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope…” (Romans 5: 3-4 in the Bible)

A Real Fire

Rachel Lighthall writes about their family who suffered from the wildfires in California:

“We’re used to having fires in this area, so when I saw the sky looking really smoky that morning, I wasn’t too worried. I was somewhat new to the area, but those who’ve lived in Paradise (California) for a long time, especially those who live by the canyons have been evacuated before. This time, however, high winds carried the fire so fast that officials completely underestimated how long it would take to reach us. Most of us had no idea what was going on until the town was burning everywhere. Our situation went from ‘slightly concerned’ to ’emergency’! The evacuation was chaotic and fast. Most people had to drive through fire to get out of town. As I drove out with my kids, smoke was everywhere. Embers had blown all over town and fires erupted everywhere. A lot of people left with their homes on fire or their neighbor’s home on fire. I didn’t know if our home would be destroyed or not. As we drove, I had a conversation with God. I prayed that we would get out safely and that our home would be spared. We had only been in our house about two years. I loved my home, but I tried to be strong enough to submit my will to God’s will. A few days later we found out our home was gone.”

One of the most beautiful things I’ve seen and heard as a result of this fire is the testimonies of people with what I call ‘big faith’. These people saw how God was in the details of their lives. ‘Big faith’ like this is not something you can get overnight. It takes a long time to build.

It reminds me of the parable of the ten virgins. If you don’t have your lamp full, the time to turn to God is before the crisis. When disasters like this fire happen, that’s not the time to start filling your lamp. In a crisis they’d never have time. After the fire, I’ve noticed that people here with ‘oil in their lamps’ have not suffered as much. They’ve still been mourning, they still have challenges, but they still believe that God cares about them and is in the details of their lives. They know that God is powerful enough that He could have spared their homes from the fire, but they also don’t get mad when things aren’t fair. They accept His will. That’s what I call ‘big faith.’

Everyone who believes in God has seen His hand in this fire. You probably couldn’t prove to somebody that there’s a God because of one huge miracle, but God has brought about a million small miracles here in Paradise. If you believe in God, you can see His hand everywhere. Even though it’s been challenging, it has also been miraculous. Having ‘big faith’ didn’t spare anyone from mourning their losses. One of the hardest parts about this whole experience is watching the mourning of those I love. I’ve probably done more mourning with them than I’ve done on my own account. Members of the Chico California Stake (her area church) did so much to serve those affected by the fire. Every person who came to the church building on evacuation day was housed within hours by other members of the church. They brought us into their homes and helped us get the things that we needed. I was also amazed by the donations of every kind that we received from saints (members) all over the world. When the fire happened, I prayed a lot because I needed to be able to mourn and I needed to teach my children how to mourn. I learned the importance of ‘clean mourning.’ What this means to me is that you don’t go to dark places with your mourning or go to a place of fear. You don’t let your thoughts go to a place of anger or shame. You mourn the way God would mourn. It feels more like love. In this situation, the biggest challenge is the unknown. There are more questions than answers for everyone. God has worked with me for years to prepare me for this situation. I’ve had other “disasters” in my life that have helped me know that God is beautifully guiding my life.”

Trust the Lord

As we give ourselves unto the Lord and consistently trust in Jesus Christ and His divine purposes in our lives, He will visit us with peace to our souls and be involved in the details of our lives.

Dallas Jones is the local leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This article quoted writings by Rachel Lighthall in the Jan. 2020 edition of Ensign. For further discussion call (231) 383-8359 or send an email to [email protected]. If interested in reading previous articles written by Dallas Jones, visit