Since September, Australia has been up in flames. Now, in the height of the fire season, almost the entire eastern seaboard is now caught up in an inferno that can only be described as apocalyptic. Major cities like Sydney and my home of Melbourne are shrouded in a smoke haze that beggars belief…..and yet, there is hope.
Yes, millions of hectares of land have been scorched to a cinder, towns have been razed, lives ruined and sadly lives lost but amongst all this devastation there are stories that give you faith in humanity.
The volunteer firefighters that put themselves in harms way to rescue those that cannot rescue themselves. These incredible men and women have selflessly pushed themselves to the brink of exhaustion as they race in front of the inferno to buy some time for children, elderly and the infirm to escape the holocaust.
It almost feels pitifully inadequate to say, “Thank you” to such amazingly brave individuals. There is the wives, husbands and children of these firefighters that wonder if their brave loved one will survive the day or night…..sadly, the nation has wept with the families of some that didn’t.
Then there are our friends abroad. Highly trained firefighters have flown in from New Zealand, Canada and the United States and have come to put their lives on the line to help us. I’m reminded of the Bible verse (John 15:13) that says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay his life down for a friend.”
This help is like a soothing salve on an open wound to the people of Australia. To have nations that are willing to help in times of strife will be long remember into the decades ahead. I’m also reminded that it wasn’t too long ago that California was burning, and these same countries banded together to do whatever they could to help in that horrific disaster.
It’s not just the physical on the ground support that is so encouraging but it’s moral support, prayers, emails and text messages of concern that I have personally received from people all over the globe. I would like to say, “Thank you.” to everyone as it’s the displaying of this love that binds as all together.
As I sit at my desk writing this blog post there is a surreal brown haze outside my window and the stench of smoke has even permeated into my study. Despite this, I consider myself incredibly lucky as I’m not in a township surrounded by flames.
We take so many things for granted in this world and it’s at times like this that showing a little gratitude for the basics of life is in order. Things such as clean air, water and a temperature that’s pleasant rather than terrifying. Showing gratitude doesn't cost anything but it can mean so much to those that receive it.
Please continue to pray for Australia.