On Sunday night, a fire caused significant damage to the Helberg Barbeque in Speegleville, Texas — a suburb of Waco.
While the unexpected devastation and indefinite closure of a business would leave some proprietors wallowing in self-pity, the Helbergs responded by praising God and defying the evil one who tempts them to despair.
“The enemy is going to have to work a lot harder than this to shake our faith,” the Helbergs wrote Monday as part of a lengthy Facebook post.
Indeed, the Helbergs have made no secret of their dependence on God.
In an interview with KWTX-TV in Waco — posted to YouTube on Tuesday — restaurant co-founder Phillip Helberg acknowledged that faith sustains his family.
“It’s the prayer and the comfort from our God that’s getting us through this right now,” he said.
Helberg also asked KWTX viewers for spiritual assistance.
“Pray for us,” he said while smiling. “I know we have a lot of — we’ve got a lot of prayer warriors in our corner.”
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,” the restaurant’s website proclaimed Isaiah 9:6.
The family took that same approach when announcing news of the fire on Facebook.
“Now, our interpretation and perspective is this: we are so thankful that nobody was present or was hurt. We can’t fathom the idea that we could have lost one of our team members to this fire. Praise God,” they wrote.
“James 1:2 says ‘Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have it’s full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,’” they added.
Indeed, the fire represents “simply the next chapter in God showing how good and faithful He is.”
Christians — we might as well admit it — do not always feel gratitude when beset by misfortune.
Happily, Christianity does not command us to “feel” anything. It commands us, for instance, to love. Then, when we have acted from love, the feelings follow.
“When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less,” legendary Christian author C.S. Lewis wrote in “Mere Christianity.”
It works the same way with gratitude. When we thank God amid our problems, we feel the peace that comes from gratitude even though our problems remain.
This, I think, relates to humility, which is the obverse of — and antidote to — the deadliest sin of all: pride.
In the Helbergs’ place, prideful people would first have congratulated themselves on a successful business. Then, when disaster struck, prideful people would have cursed the universe, blamed God or even questioned His existence.
Thus, we may thank the Helbergs for their Christian example. And we pray that God will guide them through the rebuilding of their restaurant.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.