August 16, 2023

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Words fail at a time like this. I mean even words like "apocalyptic"... "war zone"... "total devastation."

I mean those racing flames in the iconic Lahaina community of Maui just consumed everything in its path and left just ash where there had been a building there before.

Fire doesn't care what it destroys. Even if it's centuries of royal and religious history, the lives and livelihoods of countless Hawaiians. The number of lives lost? We don't even know yet, maybe we never will.

That charming tourist magnet and idyllic community has suddenly become a desolate landscape of loss.

Except for the tree. The 150-year-old banyan tree that soars to 60 feet and covers an entire city block. It is badly charred and its future is uncertain.

But today it stands as one surviving symbol of hope amidst all the sadness and ruin.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Maui fires - A Landscape of Loss...and One Symbol of Hope."

One survivor said, "Everything is gone." But the tree is still standing.

Which, I realized as I prayed for Lahaina, is just how I felt on that May day when my "everything" was gone. My Karen. The love of my life since I was 19. The only person on earth who had done my whole adult life with me. Our family treasure. Gone. Suddenly gone.

But one thing was still standing. The Tree. The cross where Jesus died a death that has changed millions of lives ever since. I'm one of them. That cross became an anchor on the darkest day of my life.

I know my days of life-altering loss certainly aren't unique to me. Some time or another, the fire comes for all of us.

Maybe in the form of a devastating diagnosis, a disease, ora disaster that destroys our treasures. Maybe desertion or divorce that leaves us emotionally "homeless."

And, of course, the ultimate hope-robber. Death.

I've been to a lot of funerals. But the one at that windswept burial ground on a Native American reservation is one I'll never forget. Danny's brother had died suddenly and tragically. And Danny wasn't only grieving - he was broken. After we had all passed by the open grave and thrown in our handful of dirt, and as people were leaving, there was Danny at the head of his brother's grave. Hugging as he wept, the rugged wooden cross that had been placed there. It just seemed like that cross was literally holding him up that day. The "fire" that burned through his life must have seemed like everything was gone.

But the Tree was still standing. As it has for millions of broken people for 2,000 years. People like me.

Some stunning things happened on that grotesque day when the Son of God was nailed to a criminal's cross. From that cross, He declared, "It is finished!" The spiritual penalty for every sin of every person on this planet had been paid for by the only One who could.

In the Bible's words: 'He personally carried our sins in His own body on the cross...He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God" (1 Peter 2:24, 3:18). Safely home. When it feels like I've lost everything, I'm still "safely home" in the unlosable love of God. I have an anchor relationship that is fireproof... disaster-proof... death-proof! Our word for today from the word of God - Romans 8:39 - assures us that, "Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." That is God's personal guarantee to those who belong to Him.

If you're not sure you do. If you've never given your life to this Jesus. If you've never experienced that unloseable love. Can I invite you to go to our website? Because there I've laid out how you can begin that relationship for a lifetime and a forever lifetime. It's

As I stood by my Karen's fresh grave, I didn't stand alone. My Jesus was there.

Lahaina's banyan tree has an uncertain future. But God's "safely home" Tree is there forever. It's Indestructible.

That Tree says I am forever loved. I'm forever forgiven. I'm forever safe. I'm never alone. And no fire can take that away.



Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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