Thursday, June 5, 2008

Burning Faith

By Nichole Giles

Great plumes of smoke filled the air in the mountains to the south of Madi’s house. The sky was now the color of twilight through a haze of campfire. But this was no campfire, and there would be no marshmallow roasts or happy songs around the blazing wildfire, which continued burning through thousands of acres of land.

Earlier in the day, the ranger had called Madi’s Grandpa Joe to evacuate his beloved cabin because the fire was expected to burn it down soon.

“Oh no,” Madi said. “We were going to visit there next week.”

“We probably won’t be able to do that now,” said Mom.

“But Grandpa Joe has worked so hard,” Brittany said. “He has spent every spring and summer weekend since I was born building that cabin.”

“Grandma Pam and Grandpa Joe love that place,” said Brayden. “We love it too.”

“I know,” said Mom. Tears glistened in her eyes as she said, “Sometimes we have to let go of the things we love.”

“Why would Heavenly Father let the fire burn our family’s things?” asked McKay.

“Sometimes we don’t understand why things like this happen,” Mom explained. “We just have to take the trials we are given and understand that Heavenly Father knows what’s best for us.”

Madi thought about this now as she watched a line of fire burn on the mountain. She didn’t believe that Heavenly Father wanted her grandpa’s cabin to be lost to them.
She had an idea. Quickly she grabbed Brittany’s hand and dragged her sister in the bedroom. “Brittany,” she said. “Let’s say a prayer for Grandpa Joe’s cabin.”

“Great idea,” said Brittany. “I already said one, but lets say one together.”

They knelt on the floor and Madi prayed, “Heavenly Father, we are so thankful for the time we’ve had to spend in Grandpa Joe’s cabin. We’ve had so much fun there, and we have great memories. We ask that you might please turn the fire away so that we can go there again and spend time with our family.” She closed in the name of Jesus Christ, and then hugged her sister.
All day Madi worried and wondered if the fire was close or not. Would the cabin burn or be saved? The sky was still filled with thick, black smoke, even though the fire was many miles away, and Madi knew it would not be put out today.

She thought sadly about all the wonderful times her family had spent visiting her grandparents for the weekend. She remembered helping Grandpa plant trees and grass. She remembered chasing squirrels and groundhogs in the great outdoors, and carefully stowing garbage in a locked container to keep from attracting bears and mountain lions.

Always, when they were there, Grandpa Joe made a big breakfast especially for Madi and her brothers and sister, with bacon and sausage, eggs, pancakes and juice. She thought of the loft bedroom upstairs, with all the beds lined against the walls for big family sleepovers. Her favorite was always the bed near the skylight in the ceiling.

Now, as Madi remembered these things, she was filled with a great feeling of loss. Again she silently asked Heavenly Father to save the cabin so her family could go there and make more memories.

For a whole week, the fire burned on the mountain. Every day, Madi waited for someone to call with the news that the cabin was lost. And every day, Madi and Brittany prayed together asking Heavenly Father to spare it.

One day, Mom called Madi, Brittany, and their brothers Brayden and Mckay inside for dinner. Madi was washing her hands when Mom said, “Guess what?”

“I know!” Madi said with excitement. “The cabin didn’t burn down.”

“How did you know that?” asked Mom.

“It was easy,” said Brittany. “We’ve been praying for it all week.”

“Yes,” Madi added. “We already knew Heavenly Father wasn’t going to let the cabin burn.”

“Oh,” said Mom, surprised. “You know, the fire burned through some campgrounds, a lot of trees, and many acres of land. The whole area up there was full of buildings that would have been destroyed if the fire had reached them. The strange part is that the fire burned in a circle around the cabins, but didn’t touch any of them.”

“Heavenly Father must have blown the fire away with the wind,” said Madi as she set the table. That night, Madi volunteered to bless the food. While she did, she remembered to thank Heavenly Father for saving her grandpa’s cabin. Madi would never forget how hard she had prayed. Even though she was only 9, Heavenly Father listened to her, and answered her prayers. That testimony burned like a fire in her heart.


Kim Thompson said...

If we could only have faith like our children, nothing would seem wrong in the world. Touching story Nichole.

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks, Kim. I totally agree. Kids have the kind of faith us jaded adults think only exists in fairy tales.

Our loss, huh?


Jenna Consolo said...

Great story! I wrote one very similar about a fire in my town several years ago in the mountains of AZ. Where was this fire?

C.L. Beck said...

What a great story! And a wonderful learning experience for the girls ... and a reminder to us, as adults, to have faith.

Jennifer said...

Nicole, I loved this story. It was so touching. Congratulations on getting it published.

Rebecca Talley said...

Wonderful story. If only we all could have the faith of a child . . .

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments! Wow.

Jenna, the fire was in the mountains of Utah. The interesting thing is that the community where the cabin is built is a very small one. The fire raged all around the mountain, but left the small area where the cabins are intact.

Oh to be eight again and truly have that kind of faith...


Rachelle said...

I enjoyed this story and it was very well-written. :)

Randall McNeely said...


Great story. I could identify with Madi and the fact that the experience was one never to be forgotten. I had similar experiences, when as a young boy my prayers were answered, and I've never forgotten them. Though I'm now a grown man, those sweet experiences often burn within me when I need them most and help me, for the moment at least, to regain some of that child-like faith. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.