Last fall we posted photos and an article on the destruction by fire of the home that Pastor Robert Smoker and his family were living in as he pastored the Susquehanna Grace Brethren Church in Wrightsville, PA. He now sends this letter of update and thanks:
“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,” Let Israel now say—
“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us; then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul; then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.”
Blessed be the LORD, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
There is no one like the LORD! Moses asked, “Who among the gods is like the LORD?” None! He has been our strong tower through a lot of stuff this year – from the month-long mission to Viet Nam in January and February, Bob being hospitalized and Jean being robbed at the bank in March, throughout Mom’s health issues, and now through the fire. The LORD is our strength.
The health issues that we struggled along with Mom over since March convinced us all that living with us was not the best thing for her. She moved into the assisted living home right from the rehab September 11. The fire was September 28. Had she still been with us she would have been in the house and we are sure she would not have gotten out.
God has sustained us through all this and more. To God be the glory! His hand of providence is evident in so many ways. He has sustained us directly through His Spirit and indirectly through the kindness and generosity of His people – our church family as well as people and churches we do not even know!
Our kids have been with us immediately, caring for our needs and helping to search through the ashes. For a brief time (seconds?) we were homeless, but never destitute. We do have times of sadness and pain over the loss of our dog, Zoe, and the loss of irreplaceable family treasures, but we are convinced that God is bringing good out of it all and we give Him glory and praise!
September 28 seems so long ago! And yet in another way it seems like it was not that long ago we would cross the river from Wrightsville and drive to Silver Spring restaurant never imagining that one day we would live just around the corner from it. But here we are.
Through church families, our family, and many many friends the Lord has provided a home that we are settling into and is replacing what was lost. We were tired of shopping way before the Christmas season arrived!
We are in the thick of filing inventory forms for our insurance company.
You wouldn’t believe how much time that takes in addition to all the other responsibilities of work, home, church and family and again, shopping…..Shopping for home and shopping for Christmas, thank you notes that we are way behind on, and now Christmas cards……it sometimes is overwhelming, but God is good, and people are gracious and understanding.
Thank you Lord! Thank you family and friends! We couldn’t have made it through without your prayers and support in so many other ways. We knew we had insurance, but you know, the INSURANCE is really, all of you who have shared with us during this time, and a loving GOD, who constantly picks us up when we’re down and gives us strength.
We hope you never have to go through this ordeal, and many have had worse, but it sure shows you how much we truly do need each other and need to uphold each other in the love of God. We have found that to be so true for us how so many have been there for us. And not to hold tight to what we have here, because it could all be gone in a moment. HOLD FAST TO THAT WHICH IS TRUE AND RIGHT.
We hope you have the best Christmas you have ever had – and hope that your year ahead keeps you working toward “the goal” of His High Calling.
MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU FOR HOW YOU HAVE BLESSED OTHERS!!
IN HIS CARE – BOB & JEANNE SMOKER
Bob & Jeanne Smoker
752 Summit Drive
Lancaster, PA 17601