Just within hours, a small church where Rev. Phil Farrington and his congregation worshiped for the past years was gone.
The pastor received a call from the fire department on Sunday morning.
“We rushed out there,” said the pastor. “I sat down on the ground and cried and watched it burn.”
Firefighters worked for hours just to beat the flames that were swallowing the structure and as smoke billowed high into the air.
The structure obtained really heavy damage. But as soon as everything was over – the fire fighters were going through the remains of the building, they uncovered possessions that survived: Bibles.
Farrington said that the texts were scattered throughout the sanctuary.
The fire department of Coal City posted pictures of the Bibles they collected and stocked it into a pile and posted it on Facebook.
Their caption says, “Though odds were against us, God was not.”
Added on the post was, “Picture this, a building so hot that at one point in time, firefighters had to back out.
In your mind, everything should be burned, ashes. Not a single bible was burned and not a single cross was harmed! Not a single firefighter was hurt!”
As per Farrington, he sees it as a sign from God that nearly two dozen Bibles were untouched as well as three crosses.
He says, “In the midst of the fire, God’s word will always stand.”
After the fire, Farrington said that the small congregation of about 250 people was invited to an evening service in the church’s youth building which was not burned down.
They placed the unscathed Bibles on a table there for everyone to see. This is for during those times whenever the congragation needs hope.
The pastor says, “There have been tears, tons of tears.”
Also, the photos of unscathed Bibles taken by the fire department have spread throughout social media.
Some people express their doubts and others are giving thanks.
Farrington said that when peple give a scientific explnation to what happened, he would just grin because “paper burns pretty easy, especially when everything around is burning.”
The Bibles appear to be leather-bound and paperback New International Version Bibles.
Melinda Bouma, a publisher for Zondervan Bibles, which publishes several million NIV Bibles said that these Bibles – like any other books – are flammable.
When she heard about the church fire, her first thought was a verse. It says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
Everything in the church burned down but the word of the Lord survived – and that gave her goosebumps.
Farrington does not know how the church fire started but he knows he needs to start rebuilding it.
The church is already raising money to help for the repairs. But for the meantime, the people will meet in the youth building.
But despite what happened, the Bibles continue on touching lives.
Farrington says, “I think it’s amazing that it’s been able to reach people and to see how many people are being touched by it.”
I hope we all are touched, too with what happened.
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