March 31, 2015 was the Tuesday afternoon before Easter, and we were preparing for several groups to arrive that weekend. I’ll never forget standing outside the Pritchell Mezzanine with my co-workers and staring in shock as thick clouds of smoke engulfed our campus from the Weed Lane Fire. At the time we didn’t know exactly how close it was, but the fire looked unsettlingly close to Rutland Chapel and Mountain Laurel Inn. As I drove home that day I prayed over and over again, God please protect Ridgecrest. And that’s exactly what He did. Firefighters from the National and State Forest Service worked for days to contain the fire, and by Saturday, April 4, it was 100% contained. The Weed Lane Fire burned through 740 acres in the area, 500 of which were on our property, yet the only structural damage we sustained was to a dock at our lake. GOD IS FAITHFUL.
As I think back on this past year, I’m reminded of more examples of God’s faithfulness. He has carried us through a pandemic and the most challenging year since I’ve been at Ridgecrest. He has walked alongside us during the sale process and the transfer of ownership from LifeWay to the Ridgecrest Foundation. His presence and guiding hand have been evident throughout all of these challenges and transitions, and I’m so thankful for His provision.
It’s now six years later, and while much has changed, God’s faithfulness remains. As one of my favorite songs by Sara Groves says, “God has been faithful. He will be again.” Indeed, He has. I take comfort in the knowledge that in an unpredictable, changing world, our unchanging God remains faithful and by our side. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. -Isaiah 43:2