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When her husband died bravely fighting a bushfire, she could only carry on with strength from God knowing that a fire could not snatch her husband from having eternal life.
When he heard about the fire that had started at Pinery (South Australia), he knew he had to help. He left around midday to volunteer at the frontline, fighting the flames. “It was just a day of chaos,” she recalled. He hadn’t been long gone when her daughter-in-law came to take refuge with her. As fierce winds fanned the fire, even their home was deemed unsafe, and they were evacuated.
All this time, her husband wasn’t answering his phone. She got conflicting messages about his whereabouts, and heard that a man who’d been working with him had been taken to hospital with severe burns. Multiple reports said her husband was safe, but as time went on, she started to worry. “It just doesn’t sound right guys,” she said. “If he was safe, he’d be calling me.”
At around 8:30 that night, her son and a policeman arrived with the terrible news. The fire had taken her husband.
All she could do was trust in the Lord, that he had died before he’d known what was happening. And in that dark moment, God was quick to send her a sign. When she glanced at her phone, full of messages and missed calls, she instead saw the screen covered in Bibles. She knew then that God was looking after her husband, and would look after her.
More than a thousand people attended his funeral, and she said the service was a witness to the community, including the media. Many people told her about visions of her husband, and a message from God, that his life would be a greater witness after his death. The prophecy came true, as his memory inspired many people to come to Christ.
In just one example, that New Year’s Eve, she got a message from her son-in-law. He’d been struggling to commit to God, but he told her he’d just been baptised, thanks to the witness of her husband. The son-in-law said God had spoken to him after the funeral, and said “if not now, when?”
People have called her strong in her grief, but she says it’s not her strength. “It’s just strength from the Lord that’s keeping me going.” She’s glad that her tragedy has brought salvation for others. “From tears of sadness, came tears of joy,” she said.
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“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”” – John 10:27-30 NIV
“Yes, you will suffer for a short time. But after that, God will make everything right. He will make you strong. He will support you and keep you from falling. He is the God who gives all grace. He chose you to share in his glory in Christ. That glory will continue forever.” – 1 Peter 5:10 ERV