The Fire and the Wind!

February 15, 2020

by Maria Fontaine

Unless you have personally faced a catastrophic event, it can be difficult to grasp the intensity of these experiences and how small and powerless man becomes in the face of them. Witnessing such events firsthand can be a terrifying experience, because for many of the people directly involved, other than through a God-given miracle, there is little chance of escape.

Along with the accounts of the devastation caused by such events also come many tremendous accounts of supernatural protection, guidance, and the hand of God shielding His children in miraculous ways.

During such times of dire events, many experience an immediate need to cry out to God or Jesus, because they come to the realization that there is nothing that they themselves can do. As a result, many who have experienced God’s intervention to protect them in the midst of such desperate situations have found their lives changed in a moment.

With the fires that have been raging in Australia for months now, many have found themselves trapped in situations where, but for the grace of God, they would not have survived.

Throughout the parts of Australia where these recent fires have raged for months, there are a scattering of towns and small cities surrounded by hundreds or thousands of square miles of forest. Many of the trees are various types of eucalyptus, or what they call gum trees. Their sap is so flammable that in a fire a tree can literally explode like a bomb, sending flaming shards of wood for some distance and spreading the fire rapidly.

They burn so hot that such fires can sweep through large areas at high speeds, leaving little more than ashes in their wake. Yet, in spite of such terrifying power, God is still with His children, keeping them in the hollow of His hands. Nothing can stand against the limitless power of our loving God to save and protect.

Someone sent me an account of one such situation that a man found himself in. The town where he was located had been cut off from escape by land as the fires came toward them from three directions. The people of this town found themselves trapped by fire on three sides, and on the other side lay the ocean. They faced near inevitable death from the massive walls of fire approaching. The rescue teams were trying to reach many such places by water, but they were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the situation.

Here is this man’s firsthand account, told in the midst of the inferno.

* * *

Well, conditions are a hell of a lot better than they were. It doesn’t look like midnight like it was just before. There’s actually some light coming through the smoke. There’s obviously the danger of spot fires, and the fires are running up in a northerly direction back towards the Prince’s Highway. I know that much.

But before, it was... It was... Mate, you just don’t want to go through something like this. It was terrifying!

And I’m pretty... I’m a bit emotional still but I’m grateful that our animals are alive and that our guests that were with us are safe. We’ve stayed together. And, yeah, it was horrendous!

I want to give God the glory because, mate, I have a good friend, ex-firie [firefighter], well, former head of the fire department here in Mallacoota, Graham Clarke. He’s been giving me the heads-up.

He’s in Canberra, but is totally surrounded by fire where he was, and he was good enough to ring me and he said, “David, it’s at the airport.” So, I knew where the fire was. The airport in Mallacoota is five or seven minutes away in the car. I knew it was hitting town because the sirens started up.

You could actually hear it roaring towards town. You could actually hear it. I had been told that by Graham, the fire chief. He told me, “You’ll hear it, David. You’ll hear the sound.” We heard gas cylinders exploding, which means it’s people’s homes being destroyed.

At that point, I started praying. I was an atheist, but I was praying to God, praying to Jesus, “Turn the wind!”

You wouldn’t believe it, but I’m going to tell you the honest-to-God truth. It pushed this thing back against itself. Literally, we felt the wind come from off the beach; it shouldn’t have, but it did. It was unbelievable. It stopped after five minutes, and then probably 20 minutes after that, the breeze was blowing up to a gale and then the sky went red.

We thought it was a fire front about to run over the top of us, but it was, I believe, God’s intervention, absolutely, through prayer, because the redness was the sun coming through the smoke, not the fire about to destroy, you know, obliterate all of us down here. Because there’s nothing [the firefighters] could have done if that had happened. It doesn’t matter how many fire trucks you have.

Basically, there’s a rock wall [at the evacuation point on the beach]. So, it’s the only thing to protect you from the radiant heat. They wanted us to get into the water against that wall. It’s got oysters and stuff that can cut you, not the greatest thing to do, but it will save you from radiant heat, it’s a barrier. So, we were ready to jump into the water. And everyone was all along the edge, ready to go, when that sky went red. It looked like what we’d been looking at when we saw the fire coming, but it was God stopping it! Yeah, we’re just grateful to be alive.

* * *

The husband of the woman who sent this account to me managed to find this man’s phone number and called him to let him know that they were praying for him. He didn’t have much time to talk because he was still hard at work helping in the rescue operations.

He explained that a wall of flames 60 feet high was coming at him and the other people who’d fled to the beach. He started praying quietly but then started praying bolder and bolder, until he was shouting out his prayer.

That’s when an east wind began and blew the fire away. People around him could hear him praying, and he didn’t care. The bolder he got, the stronger came the answer. “Come boldly before the throne of grace.”

He’s been on BBC World Service, Jerusalem Times, all over the world.

* * *

David often quoted, “It takes an impossible situation for God to do a miracle.” God is able to work in answer to our prayers beyond anything we can do.

What’s so wonderful is that even when we actually get to personally experience His miracles or hear about them, those physical manifestations are often dwarfed by the spiritual victories that take place, as in the case of this man who was an atheist before this experience.

Something even greater than the physical events happened to him, something life-changing that will last forever. Through his brush with death, he discovered the One who could transform his life for eternity. What greater miracle could you ask for than that?! I believe it was due to many people, not only in Australia but around the world, who were praying for those miracles!

“Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”—Psalm 46:2–3

“And Jesus looking upon them saith, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.’”—Mark 10:27

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”—Psalm 32:7