As I might have mentioned in a previous post, there have been fires burning out of control to the north of us. News stories have been filled with pictures and videos showing the damage caused by the violent flames, the houses and businesses that have been destroyed, and – unfortunately – accounts of the lives that have been lost.
While I am many miles away from the fires, the effects of the conflagration can be felt far and wide. For instance, our air quality is quite poor, and we have been advised to stay indoors and limit our exposure to the smoke-laden air.
How fortunate I am to have a home – albeit a small and modest apartment – to call my own! And what a blessing it is that my home is safe and secure. My heart breaks for the people who have lost everything in the fires, and don’t know where to turn next.
I am reminded that there are so many things that we take for granted in our lives. That we have food to eat and a roof over our heads is more than most of the world’s population can claim. That I have a functional vehicle, gainful employment, and reasonably good health also places me at the top tier of most of the people in the world. Oh – I also don’t have to grow my own food! – I can simply pop down to the grocery store and have my choice of lots of different things to buy.
Also, I live in a part of the world where building codes are the norm, so I don’t have to worry about my roof caving in, or my walls being riddled with asbestos or other toxic substances. There are many people cannot say the same.
What about the water that I practically guzzle every day (I drink water all the time!)? Miraculously, I turn on my faucets each day and clean water comes out. Not only that, the water has been tested – and, for the most part – has been screened for any impurities or toxins. Also, I can trust about the water I drink every day is safe, and I don’t have to worry about sterilizing it.
And did I mention refrigeration? We have these amazing appliances in the kitchen so keep our food at just the right temperature so that it does not spoil. Our freezers, also, allow us to store food away for another time, without worrying about the food going bad.
I also have a washing machine and dryer in my apartment, which means that I can do my laundry whenever I feel like it. I don’t have to worry about going to a laundromat or – like some communities around the world – have to go to the nearest body of water (that is also likely used for other purposes) to do my washing there.
And did say anything about soap? That we have the ability to get clean whenever we so choose? Basic sanitation and hygiene? And that these regular practices often keep us healthy and give us the ability to live longer than some of our less privileged counterparts in other regions of the world?
For me, all of these blessings fall under the category of “shelter”. At the end of the day, I have somewhere to go where I can enjoy these benefits. Unfortunately, many of our neighbors to the north (or around other parts of the globe) cannot say the same.
So the next time you’re feeling frustrated because your iPad will not sync to your iPhone, pause to say thanks – whether you believe in God or not – for the fact you have a home and are able to enjoy all of its attendant blessings. After all, as those who have been the victims of natural disasters and fires can attest, our lives can change dramatically in an instant.
Dear Lord, I thank You for providing me with shelter every day. Thank You for all of the conveniences of life that I so thoughtlessly take for granted. Please forgive me for not acknowledging these blessings more regularly, or for somehow believing that I have provided these things for myself. As the Bible says, every good and perfect thing comes from You. Either You have directly provided them to me, or You have equipped me with the knowledge, skill, or natural talent necessary in order to acquire these things.
Also, remind me that You are my ultimate Shelter. You provide for me every day, and there is never a time when You are not available to me. Help me to not get so preoccupied with the busyness of life that I failed to stay in touch with You. As always, thank You for Your unrelenting faithfulness to me. In Your name I pray, Amen.