One is always looking for signs of hope amid tragedy and loss.
The members of the Balsora Baptist Church in Bridgeport, Texas, northwest of Fort Worth, found just that out on Friday after their sanctuary burned to the ground, according to WOAI-TV.
In the middle of the embers stood a cross, unbowed by the ravages of the fire.
The Wise County Emergency Services Department No. 2, had responded quickly to the scene, but could not save the building.
“A devastating loss to our community, but a sight to behold,” the department wrote in a Facebook post, which included a picture that firefighters took of the cross standing amid the wreckage.
“The fire took the structure, but not the cross. A symbol that the building was just that, a building. The Church is the congregation, and where 2 or more gather, there He shall be also.”
— Local 12/WKRC-TV (@Local12) June 20, 2022
Balsora Pastor Sonny Smith told KDFW-TV the cross “was a sign from God saying, ‘Don’t worry. I’m still here, and I’m going to lead you forward.’”
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The church’s fellowship hall was in the middle of being renovated when the fire broke while the construction workers were away for lunch on Friday, KDFW reported.
Churches nearby have offered to let Balsora Baptist use their facilities.
The congregation’s immediate plans were to meet outside on their property.
“God is good. In the good times and in the bad times, you can always depend on him,” Smith said.
VIDEO: Balsora Baptist Church will host an outdoor service, today — two-days after a fire burned its church building to the ground.
— David Sentendrey (@DavidSFOX4) June 19, 2022
The charred cross does call the mind the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the first-century church in Corinth in modern-day Greece.
“Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each one’s work will become manifest, for the [judgment] Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done,” he wrote.
“If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire,” Paul continued.
The Balsora church cross went through testing by fire and survived.
A similar message of hope could be seen after the devastating 2019 fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
— Culper Ring 🇺🇸 (@MattWill_13) April 15, 2019
The entire roof and steeple collapsed, but the cross still stood.
Footage of the inside of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after the fire.
A cross still hangs in the background. pic.twitter.com/JtFp4ObeDO
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) April 15, 2019
Of course, the entire message of Jesus Christ is that life can overcome death.
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah, whom Jesus quoted when he launched his ministry, wrote that God would give “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”