Gatlinburg wildfires have destroyed 700 homes and killed at least 11 people this week. I have always loved Gatlinburg. It is my favorite place in the world to visit. I love the mountains and the people in this area! It has been very dry this Fall. A wind storm caused fires moved so fast in the area that many people struggled to evacuate their homes quickly.
As I was laying in my bed watching the news and refreshing Facebook for any other updates on the Gatlinburg wildfires, I kept thinking about what was happening to the people who live and work in the area and the people visiting the area on vacation. Many of the people evacuating the area left with nothing but the clothes on their back. Thinking about the residents who were going to lose homes, cars and businesses made my heart break. Things that they had worked for all their life, going up in flames. I worried about loss of life. What about those who didn’t have time to escape? It was such a bleak night as I lay in bed thinking about what would happen to the city.
More selfishly I worried about how much I love Gatlinburg and how many memories I have there. We vacationed there every summer when I was a child. My family goes there several times each year now that we live just a couple of hours away. I wondered if the Gatlinburg wildfires would destroy places that I love to visit and those places that I hold dear because of the memories made there.
Temporary vs. Eternal
All of a sudden the verse from Matthew 6:20 came to mind. This verse says, “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy and thieves do not break in and steal.” While this verse doesn’t specifically say anything about a wildfire destroying things, I think that the point here is that God knows how temporary things in this world are. If I put my hope into temporary things like a place, my possessions or my job, I run the risk of losing everything in a moment.
God tells us that hope in Him will last forever. I call that a good investment! 1 Corinthians 4:18 says, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” Places, people, jobs, hobbies and possessions are temporary. When a person focuses their life on a relationship with God and bringing others into a relationship with Him, they are putting time and energy into the one thing that will never be taken away. What are some things that you can do to put your focus on eternal things? I would love to see your comments below!