The latest round of wildfires in Southern California were devastating to thousands of families. Nearly everyone knows someone who was personally affected by this disaster. The clarion calls to evacuate issued a familiar message, “Leave immediately, take only what you absolutely need!” Within hours, countless families, livestock, everything was displaced and homeless. The hardship extended to the thousands of brave first responders who assisted in the evacuation while battling the blazes.
If I received an evacuation order and needed to leave within a few minutes, what would I take? Disaster relief organizations have prepared lists of items that everyone should consider taking with them. These items included medications, cash and/or credit cards, water, small electronics such as cell phones and chargers, and important papers such as identification, passports, birth certificates. But if I had all of these items, what additional possession would I take that I would deem irreplaceable? If I had a pet, certainly they would be included. Items such as my guitars came to mind but as much as I love my instruments, they are simply too large and except for the sentimental value, completely replaceable. Books? Nearly all, including Bibles, are available in electronic format. Photographs? I have scanned the majority of my photographs, and, like all my important documents, are kept in a cloud server computer storage. But there is one item that is irreplaceable. Hung on the wall of our master bedroom and framed in a glass case is our wedding program nestled next to my wife’s wedding bouquet. The flowers are carefully dried and the arrangement preserved, a beautiful reminder of our first moment as husband and wife. No photograph will ever capture or preserve the actual bouquet. This is what I would take.
When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.
2 Timothy 4:13 (ESV)
What would the Apostle Paul take? When Paul was imprisoned, facing his imminent execution, the Bible reveals what possessions he valued. He asked his young protege, Timothy, for three things to be brought to him. In a cold dark prison cell, a cloak for warmth would have been a prized possession. In a time before the printing press, books and parchments of God’s Word were highly prized and irreplaceable. The Apostle Paul revealed a very personal and touching side of himself by his requests.
The fires and other disasters have taken a terrible toll on thousands of people. I pray for continued financial, physical and spiritual support for everyone who has been affected. The Bible reminds us that God’s love and care includes our fondest memories and irreplaceable mementos. Even in our darkest moments, He is there.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.