"A sad day, but it could be worse.” Those were the words of my cousin Tim Fannin when he posted pictures of his burned down condo in Tennessee on Facebook. His beautiful home, classic automobile and all possessions were reduced to ashes, and Tim was still able to find hope and joy in those circumstances. Tim, had in recent years, moved to Tennessee after retiring from building Jeeps in Toledo for much of his adult life. He had purchased a rare Chrysler Crossfire as a retirement present to himself, and retreated to his mountain home to enjoy a quiet, stress free life.

Little did Tim know the adversity that he would face in Tennessee. After being able to return to see the remains of his home, Tim stopped by a local restaurant to order take out. He ran into a neighbor who said she was having a bad day. After talking for awhile, the woman revealed to Tim that he “always had her back and was her rock.” As he went to pay for his carryout order and leave, the cashier said that an anonymous person had already paid for his meal. Tim was overcome with emotion. He said on his Facebook page, “I definitely know one thing, I will never forget the chapter I have gone through here and the way people pull together. If you don't think America is great and kind, come to Sevierville Tennessee and you will change your mind.”

It was a sad day indeed for many of those who lost possessions in the Tennessee fire. Several lives were lost as well. Many will find it difficult to rebuild their homes and their lives. We are reminded in the book of James, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).  Our source of hope and joy is in God and it is through His people having one another’s “backs” that this hope and joy is found. Tim may have lost his possessions, but he is not lacking that which is important. He still finds hope and joy in his circumstances. Please pray for Tim and those in Tennessee who have lost much in this catastrophe.