An Amazing True Story

By Greg Stelley

Published: May 26, 2012

Joni is no stranger to miracles. Her prayers and even her dreams have a habit of coming true. Her husband is regularly amazed by her strong faith and her premonitions: “I had a dream, Greg. There’s going to be a fire. I saw Kathy and Frank in the middle of it.”

Frank Scalari is a physicist. Frank, his wife Kathy, and their four children, along with their horses, goats and chickens, have just moved onto their new five acre ranch high in the Cuyamaca Mountains, 60 miles northeast of San Diego. 

On October 25th, 2003, the ravenous Cedar Fire sweeps down into San Diego on strong Santa Ana winds. Two days later the monstrous thirty-mile-long firestorm reverses course and heads back to the Cuyamaca Mountains. Joni assures Kathy, her ever-skeptical best friend, that she is praying for her property and that: “Nothing is too hard for God! Not even this terrible firestorm!” But neither Kathy nor Frank believe in the supernatural. 

GOD INSIDE THE FIRE is a true life page-turner of epic proportions. As the 427-square-mile Cedar Fire takes direct aim at the Scalari family’s ranch, Joni, and Danielle, her 9-year-old daughter, each pray for a miracle. They’re praying for more than just a horse ranch—they’re praying to open their friends’ hearts and minds to the reality of God. The impossibilities within this amazing true story will astound you. If you look, you just may find…GOD INSIDE THE FIRE.

This book was recommended to me by my cousin.  Her husband is a Fire Fighter for the National Forestry Service and has worked on many wild fires.  She read this hoping that she would learn some things about what he does and the kinds of fires he faces.  Unfortunately, for her, she didn’t learn as much as she was hoping, but still found the story intriguing and told me about it.

As a believer, I love hearing about God’s miracles and this story provides just that.  I won’t tell you what the miracle or miracles were as I don’t want to spoil anything for the reader, but this book definitely made me stop and think about His great power in our lives.

The book is heavily Christian based and quotes Scripture throughout as a means of sharing the story.  Joni and Frank are not believers like their friends Kathy and Greg, but their friendship is still strong and thriving.  I found this part of the relationship very interesting as Kathy and Greg certainly didn’t hide their faith and yet Joni and Frank didn’t seem interested either.  

Since this is a true story, I found so many facts of the fire horrifying.  I thought Stelley described the scene, the emotions and the fear of the residents so well that I was finding it hard to breathe as those in the story were breathing through the smokey air.

Christian or not, I really think you will find this story fascinating.  I barely remember the Cedar Fire happening.  I had a 3 year old, a 2 year old and our house was on the market at the time, so I barely had time to brush my teeth let alone watch the news.  But, I remember other wild fires in recent years and I will certainly be more interested as fire season begins soon.

I think there is much we can learn from this story and it would encourage a great discussion about your faith. This would make an excellent book for a book club or a Bible study group.

The things I took away from the book include:  prayer works, your things mean nothing compared to family and friends, and God can do amazing things…if we just ask him to.  I am certainly going to try to be more specific in my prayer time with God.

At the time, I was able to get this as a free book for my Kindle.  GOD INSIDE THE FIRE is also available on paperback and is currently $3.99 for the Kindle.

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