Summary: Importance of a father.

Mark 9:17-27 KJV And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; [18] And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. [19] He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. [20] And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. [21] And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. [22] And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. [23] Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. [24] And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. [25] When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. [26] And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. [27] But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.


Wagner Dodge had a dilemma except at the time, he didn’t know it. On August 5, 1949, Wagner and his smoke jumpers were about to embark on one of the deadliest journeys they had ever been involved in. They saw the fire from the air and when they jumped from the plane, all appeared well. All of the chutes deployed, every man made it safely down from the sky, and they rolled up their parachutes and then begin to march in single file down into the gorge where the Missouri River gently flowed.

But when Wagner Dodge left his men in the middle of the gorge and scouted ahead to assess the fire, he realized that this might be the day that he died. When he got within one hundred feet of the fire, he made three discoveries that would change his life forever.

First, he realized that the fire from was much worse than what they had thought it to be from above. The wind was coming over the ridge and was whipping the fire a lot faster than he had thought. Second, the swirling winds were blowing the fire above the gulch, up to the ridge. This meant that their escape route was cut off from them. Third, as he directed his men to retreat, he discovered that the fire was in a transitional zone.

Most forest fires can only travel about four to five miles per hour which makes it easy for the smoke-jumpers to outrun them. But Mann Gulch was part of a transitional zone—meaning that it was an area of the mountain that makes a transition between the forest and the plains. So shoulder high prairie grass is mixed in with the trees. The grass was dense, dry and ready to explode in a withering blaze.

The fire was pursuing them and Wagner Dodge and his team of men were trapped in this grass with fire totally surrounding them. Dodge knew that he could not outrun this wave of flame that had surrounded them. In just a minute and at the most two, he estimated that they would be burned to death.

The roar was deafening. Sap in scattered trees was superheating and exploding. Smoke, embers, and ashes swirled in all directions. The apparent options offered to Dodge offered no escape. They could stand and be fatally burned, turn and be fatally burned or run and be fatally burned. Dodge and his fifteen men were about to die.

Suddenly Wagner Dodge stopped and took out a match from his shoulder pocket, lit it and threw it into the shoulder high grass in front of him. His men, watching from behind, thought he had lost his mind. There was no time to light a backfire. But Wagner Dodge was not lighting a backfire. He was lighting a fire that in an instant the grass was ablaze in a widening circle.

As the ring of fire spread, it cleared a small area of all flammable substances. It was not much of a safety zone, but it would do. He jumped over the blazing ring, moved to its smoldering center, wrapped a wet cloth around his face, pressed his face to the ground and waited. As he had anticipated, the surging fire wall rounded both sides of his small circle, leapt over the top, but found nothing to ignite.

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