I wrote a review for a book this evening by Pete Wilson entitled Plan B (you can see the review right below this post). It's basically about our responses when things don't go quite as we plan or when curveballs are thrown our way. I made the comment that the book was timely considering what's happening in Nashville right now. No one there planned for the flooding and damage to their homes that's going on.
It was with these thoughts that I finished up my review and hit publish. And it was no more than 20 minutes later that I received a call from my wife saying that our house was on fire (I'm out in Seattle on business - actually currently sitting in the airport awaiting the red eye home). Leah and the kids made it out ok, but we had some decent damage to the front of our house.
God's providential timing isn't without irony.
See, the fire apparently started in an outdoor outlet next to our front door. Nothing was plugged into this outlet. The wiring was just done poorly, and over time it wore down to the point of shorting out and catching fire. All of the outlets in our house (including the ones in my 17-month-old and 7-week-old's rooms) are likely similarly wired, meaning the fire could have started anywhere. My son was already in bed when this occurred. It could have started there.
But it didn't.
The fire happened when my wife (who handled the situation with strength and grace) was home. Actually our neighbors across the street called her when they saw the fire out front (it didn't set off smoke alarms since it started outside). This meant she was not only able to get herself and the kids out, but the fire department was able to get there in time to keep the damage relatively minimal. They told my wife that another 5 minutes and the fire might have spread to the whole house. The fire could have happened when no one was home and destroyed the whole house. A big gust of wind or dryer conditions could have exacerbated the damage or even threatened my family.
None of that happened.
Now, we know about the shoddy wiring throughout the house and can fix it before something happens in the kids' rooms. We have insurance that should cover all the damage. We have family in Cincinnati we can stay with in the meantime. My company is letting me take the red eye home and miss a client visit to be with my family and get repairs moving.
I'm sitting here with an awareness and thankfulness for God's protection and goodness. That goodness isn't defined by my approval of how things ultimately worked out, but his protection of my family is very real and all his grace. There is so much to be thankful for in this.
God is seriously good.