I dedicate this blog to my friends, Ermanno Aiello, Paul Barnard, and Hugh Holtzhausen, whom have given me spiritual guidance since my diagnosis. Thank you for keeping me in your prayers.
I am using the photos of my talented friend, Laurette van der Merwe, to tell my story. Thank you Laurette for giving me the freedom to choose from your vast library of beautiful photos.
Some words are mine, most are directly from His Word.
On the 16th of April 2011 a controlled fire got out of hand in the wind and very quickly was blown out of control.
After being diagnosed with MSA on 6 September 2010 I became overwhelmed by fear. There was no getting away from this consuming fire of MSA. No treatment, no cure.
The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Our beautiful valley was filled with dark clouds of suffocating smoke. Windows and doors had to be closed for the soot that rained down for days. It looked like an end of the world scene; Armageddon had arrived.
My life was full of darkness, I was without hope. In that first year my prayer was mostly a desperate plea; “Please help me God.”
In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and You listened to my cry.
1 John 1:5
God is Light; in Him there is no darkness at all.
Some animals tried to flee from the fire to safety.
Where would I find a safe place to hide?
You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Firefighting units from all over were called in to help control the fire, which was threatening properties and farms. The sound of water-carrying helicopters was heard for days.
Who would come to rescue me?
2 Timothy 4:18
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His Heavenly Kingdom.
Many areas were gutted by the fire. Especially our beautiful indigenous fynbos on the slopes of our mountain in the Helderberg Nature Reserve. The reserve had been a favourite place since my teenage years. A group of us used to cycle there to sit and chat in the shade of the trees. When our boys were small, we often walked with them, and when they tired, they would hitch a ride on their Dad's shoulders. As adults they walked ahead of their ever lagging Mom up there. Seeing our beloved mountain reserve engulfed by fire was heart breaking.
Where would I find the courage to rise out of the ashes of my life?
Where would life lead from here?
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (MSA), for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.
God had taken my hand long before I became aware of Him, to walk with me through the fire. He does so every day.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze.
Out of the burnt landscape of my life l was reborn. As on the mountain, signs of new growth began to appear.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new Creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
I had found hope again.
1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Through His promises I found peace in the knowledge that I am in His care.
Matthew 6:26-30 abbreviated
26: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin.
30: If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Spring came, and on the 28th of October of that year Laurette and I had the privilege to travel up the mountain with two conservationists of the reserve in their Landy. I was amazed that they had welcomed the fire. It not only rid the veld of dead and bushy growth, some seeds, in fact, need the heat of a fire to germinate. The veld had recovered and flowers, especially my favourite Watsonias, were in full bloom. A most glorious sight.
My trust is in Him, who knows what He has planned for my life.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven, not built by human hands.
Living fearlessly is a joy.