My mind was numb. I'd only captured moments of the conversation. "Dad dead." No this wasn't right. It was all just a bad dream. I'd wake up from soon. A hard pinch, yeah, that should wake me up.
Instead a strong hand gripped my shoulder. "We wanted you to know your dad died a hero," a deep voice replied. "He managed to push the little girl out before the building collapsed."
A moment of silence for a fallen hero. My father, the firefighter. A man who was always saving lives, couldn't even save his own.
"Thank you," I replied. Tears fell down the large man I knew as Ladder 21 Fire Chief's face. No more was needed to be said as he embraced me.
Moments turned to minutes and minutes turned to hours as the world passed me by. Sorrow, pain, regret filled every crack of my body. I didn't understand, I didn't know what to do or who to blame.
My father taught me never to play with fire. But tonight God had allowed another burning flame to be extinguished.
I had never hated God so much than at that moment. The God my father professed so much faith in, the God who loved his followers so much. My heart burned with hatred like the fire that killed my father.
"God if this is how you love your followers," I yelled to a empty room. "I want no part of it, no part of you."
My father prayed for years that I would find the Christian faith that he had found. That I would learn to love and follow God like he did. I laughed, scoffed at him saying I would never believe in his fairy tales. I don't know how many times. Yet he just kept praying that God would open my eyes and heart to Him.
My knees buckled as I fell to the ground. Why couldn't God have taken me instead? It just didn't seem fair or right. He loved and served you God, I didn't. He hadn't done anything wrong, why should he be punished for my mistakes?
Questions poured out, but I didn't have the answers. I didn't know who would, I hated God too much to ask him. I figured he didn't care anyways. But a voice interrupted my thoughts...
The answers are in front of you.
My eyes searched the room trying to find a source for the voice. Only finding more emptiness, more silence. But my eyes were drawn back to a black book sitting on the coffee table. I'd never noticed it sitting there before.
I climbed to my feet, my hands reached for what became my father's Bible. The Bible was opened to a book entitled John. In the footnote of the Bible my father's handwriting read, "Lord please help her find the answers she needs."
Once again tears flooded my eyes and I was enticed to read on. As I began to read, my thoughts become focused on discovering this God my father knew so well. I don't know how much time passed when the bible fell out of my lap and onto the floor.
I learned that God so loved this world, me, that he sent His Only Son to die on a cross for me. To suffer and die an agonizing criminal's death. I couldn't pay the price so he paid instead, with his life and his love.
I shook my head, how could I've been so blind, so stupid. My father knew of all this, he tried to tell me but I didn't listen.
"Lord, forgive me for being so blind......" I began to pray.
Tonight I would take a walk among the flames. Tonight a heart that once burned with hatred would became a heart that burned with Christ.
These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.-1 Peter 1:7 (NIV)
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