It has been an altogether astounding thing to realize how miraculous the rescue of the theater was. I’ve had occasion to tell the story many times over this past week, and it’s still hard to process how many things the Lord put in place to save it from a fire that should have utterly destroyed the building. There isn’t even a hint of smoke in the theater.
We are so thankful for the many thousands of people across the country who prayed, and have been so encouraging as we have all been celebrating in wonder at how great, and how completely able God is, to do anything He chooses to do. To allow all of us to participate and share such a remarkable thing has been a tremendous blessing.
This week, having a little time to think and process, I had a bit of a revelation that I want to share here. It isn’t the kind of thing I normally write about, but seeing your life’s work, and a mission that you hold as a sacred trust being placed in such peril will spawn a little passion.
There’s no way to positively determine what caused the fire, but it is obvious where it started. It began in the bone-dry grass bordering the right side of the northbound lanes of Highway 84.
How it likely started really isn’t much of a mystery. Someone, without a thought for the consequences, flicked a cigarette out the window. It ignited the dry grass, and burned over 100 acres of ranch land, and but for the grace of God and the brave men He provided to battle the fire, would have destroyed Ragtown Gospel Theater and the ministry it houses.
We’ve all read and heard so much about wildfires and climate change over the past decade. I did a Google search for Wildfires and Climate Change, and got almost 11 million articles. I didn’t read them all, of course, but scanning the excerpts of the first hundred or so, it’s an easy assumption that most, if not all, cite climate change as a primary reason for increased wildfires.
What if it’s not that at all? What if it is something much simpler? Much easier to prove and correct?
What if it is simply that more and more car manufacturers have quit including ashtrays as standard equipment in cars? If there’s nowhere to dispose of a lit cigarette, the easiest thing to do is to toss it out. The side window is already likely to be open a bit, to allow the smoke to escape, so there it goes. If conditions happen to be dry, and if there’s a bit of wind, it all but guarantees a fire will start.
I mean, this is someone smoking a cigarette for goodness’ sake, so it’s likely that neither common sense nor consideration for other people is their strong suit.
I would love to see an unbiased study that correlates the frequency of wildfires relative to the reduction of ashtrays in vehicles. No, actually what I would love to see is truth and common sense being the only things that define public policy and regulation. Okay, I should rein this in, before I get wound up and start in on public education doing away with phonics, and everyone being baffled that kids can’t read anymore.
But point is, in our present social climate, the climate that is indisputably changing, truth is losing to relativism. Truth depends upon who you are, what you may have experienced, or what you identify as. Truth is created by relentless, agenda-fueled rhetoric.
There is a Truth which is absolute. That Truth cannot be compromised. That Truth is the risen Christ Jesus. In a world that looks increasingly hopeless, He is hope. More than hope…He is promise. He is certainty. He is confidence and optimism. And above all, He is love. He is God. And God can change anything, including our truth-deprived social climate.
I knew that, but He proved that to me again last Sunday as I stood and watched flames surrounding a building that housed a ministry that I know, beyond all doubt, was built and has been sustained for over eleven years by the Lord. Fire rose above it on two sides, with 40 mile per hour winds pushing the blaze to within feet of the theater. Burning embers were being blown against the sides of the building.
God saved Ragtown. Hours before that fire began, He had set things in motion that worked together perfectly to change what would have been a disaster, into a glorious victory.
God wasn’t through with Ragtown. He apparently wants to continue touching people through our plays, concerts, and the beautiful theater where we stage those events. However, we will be closed this weekend. Like you, we and our volunteers will be at home with our families celebrating the Resurrection, which is the greatest miracle of all. While you’re all together with your family, think about setting a date to come see Peter the Rock together. We’ll be staging this special play through the end of April. It is the play we began Ragtown Gospel Theater with, back in 2007. Thank God that we’re not ending with it. Come and celebrate with us!