My dad used to make us do these awful fire drills.

He’d, without warning, set off the fire alarm in the house. I remember I’d be sitting on the couch, reading, when suddenly, that ear-piercing shrill would blare through the house. My older sister and I would share a weary glance before forcing ourselves off the couch. I’d grab the dog that was next to me, and together, all ten of us kiddos would march out of the living room, through the hallways, and then out the front door.

I remember thinking that the neighbors just had to be staring at us as we all stood, most of us still in our pajama’s, huddled in the only patch of shade in the front yard. It must have been an odd sight. We’d stand there, annoyed and frustrated, as we waited for our dad to come bounding out of the house after us with a big grin on his face and the fire alarm in his hand.

He’d tell us how to best improve our escapes, have us practice these improvements two or three more times, then finally relent and let us go back to our school work or video gaming.

My dad had us do a fire drill every single month for years. I never knew when they were coming, and even worse, I didn’t know if they’d ever stop! What if one day he did it while I had a guest over!? That horrifying thought kept poor fifteen-year-old Alli awake some nights.

These fire drills were so annoying…until we had a fire.

I was in my room writing and hanging out with Shelby. It was after dinner, and we were winding down from the long day. Halfway through my writing session, I heard a very loud and distinct ‘pop’. Shelby and I looked at each other, confused, but didn’t investigate the sound. A couple of minutes later, I got a hankering for something sweet, so I set my writing down and headed towards the kitchen.

I walked out of my room and down the hallway, passing my brother’s room. His door had a bright orange light shining on it, and, curious, I poked my head inside—only to see his entire mattress covered in flames.

Instinct kicked in.

“Fire! Fire!” I shouted and ran to the top of the stairs. “There’s a fire—get out of the house!”

Everybody jumped into action. I don’t even remember if the fire alarm had a chance to go off. Us Prince Kid’s kicked into action. All those drills were ingrained in us. People got up and calmly, quickly, got out of the house. My older sister, Kate, raced up the stairs with the fire extinguisher and doused the bed.

Smoke filled the second floor, and, coughing, I grabbed my dog and got outside.

Through the entire thing, not a single one of us got hurt. We didn’t lose any of our animals, or belongings to flames. And I, of course, got mad clout because I Instagramed the whole thing.

(My brother’s room, mattress, and Alli being a ham, May 11th, 2021)

Looking back, I’m so thankful that these fire drills, annoying, painful, and awful as they were. Because they prepared me for the actual emergency.

Now, Alli, you may be thinking. You’re usually talk about writing or Jesus here and what does this have to do with any of that?

Well, I was having a conversation with my mentor this past week about something difficult that I’m going through. We prayed, and the memory of the fire popped up. I didn’t know why, until I’d sat with it for a day or so.

Spiritual Fire Drills

Sometimes, God puts us through a fire drill. Something annoying happens, maybe it’s even a little painful. It seems like an awful situation, and you never want to deal with it again. I get angry with God when he does this. I wonder what I did to deserve my routine being tossed out the window, my plans shredded, and my comfort destroyed.

But then I sit back, and I think about these fire drills, and I wonder…what if the tiny, annoying, sometimes even really uncomfortable things are actually God’s version of a fire drill? What if he’s preparing you for the big thing that the enemy is planning?

The fire could have ended so much worse. I could have gone to sleep, it could have spread, and the whole house could have burned down. But it didn’t. We could barely sleep in the house because of all that smoke, and we had to replace a mattress, but we were prepared. We didn’t have to think about what we were doing or even panic. We jumped into action.

God is building you into a warrior for his Kingdom–because we are at war. One day there’ll be a fire that you need to jump into action and handle. But don’t worry, because God is preparing you for that battle.

What is the fire drill in your life right now?

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