When the fire comes, let it (for spring comes after)
The message came in late one evening. Who would be calling at this hour? Busy getting ready for bed, I heard The Mister pick up. And I heard his tone turn grave.
It was his brother.
Later, he told me the story. How the crew, they’d been working. How a spark had caught and kindled. How the flames, they’d roared to life. How the shop, it all crashed down. How the loss, it was complete.
The fire had come on an ordinary day. Blazed right up beneath a blue autumn sky. The flames, licking orange, had devoured like a ravenous beast, reducing wood, hay and stubble to ash.
There’d been no warning of an inferno that crisp, fall day. No signs to say, “Look out,” or, “Heads up.” Just the normal rhythm of life and duties and work and kids. And then a spark.
Right now, on a blustery, March day, they’re fighting fires in my hometown. On the Kansas Plains where buffaloes once wallowed, leaving marks in our pasture land; there, on sun-scorched earth where Indians gave chase, the fire has come.
“We’ve had bad fires, and we’ve had really bad fires, but never multiples at once like this,” said Eric Ward, Kansas Forest Service fire specialist.
The raging inferno has forced evacuations, including an aunt and an uncle. Disaster’s hot breath has pursued them from their home. Brave men and women, including cousins and kids of folks I know, are fighting. In an hour of danger and need, they battle.
Today, I’m thinking of fire. How on an ordinary day beneath clear, blue skies, it can come. No sign. No warning. Just the rhythm of life and duties and work and kids. Then a spark with an inferno raging, ravenous, reducing right down to rubble and ash.
The sparks, they can be anything. An awful diagnosis. A business collapse. An accident. A wayward kid. Then, suddenly, a blaze that can’t be put out. And it burns and burns and burns.
Here’s what I’ve learned about the fire of trials. This fire, it will burn, consuming wood, hay and stubble. Let it.
The fire, it will hurt, burning up all that’s unsound or unhealthy. Let it.
The flames, they’ll blaze high, right out of control. Let them.
The furnace, it’s big and you’ll feel all alone. You’re not. There’s a Fourth Man ‘longside right there in the flames, and His all-seeing eye’s keeping watch. On the thermostat.
On the Plains, the fire will eventually be vanquished. Spring will come, renewing barren earth. The rains will fall, soaking roots. And life will invade where death marched and devoured.
Us, too. When those “multiples” hit all at once, there is hope. For if we let it, the fire of trial will cleanse, burning the dross right up. We will be far stronger than we ever thought possible. If we let it, it will purify, bringing pure, bright gold, and we will shine far brighter than we ever imagined.
If we let it, it will drive us straight to Jesus, and we will learn to love Him more than we ever have before. Because this…
Because we have learned that we can trust Him in the fire. Even as it rages.
Just like the Plains, the fires that come will eventually die out. Spring will come, renewing soul’s barren, parched earth. Holy, refreshing rains will fall, soaking clear down to our roots. And Life will invade where Death marched and devoured.
And all is well and shall ever be well with my soul.
Praying for you, dear Fire Walker, and for Kansas,