Sometimes all I can see is devastation. Black charred branches that once held life. Soot underfoot. Ashes and brittle remains of a once vibrant mountain.
And yet, all hope is not lost.
“I lift my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” - Psalm 121
Metaphorically, I’ve been looking at the mountains, and all I can see are the charred remains of something that used to be wonderful. I can’t see past the ashes to see the hope that lies beneath, because lately, I’ve been placing my hope in the things that will burn away.
Over and over throughout the Bible, we see evidence of Christ taking us through the refining fires. Just as the impurities are burned away from the silver at high temperatures, he also tempers our lives with fire.
Although the fires may hurt us, what he burns away are the thorns and thistles that have grown up in our lives. “For our God is a consuming fire.“ (Hebrews 12:29) The fires will be painful, but they destroy the things that keep us from coming fully to him. He takes away to the bad.
“For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; …we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.” -Psalm 66:10-12
After hiking through the charred ruins for several miles, I found out that what I was seeing wasn’t a result of the devastating forest fires in our area, but they were the result of a control fire, meant to keep the larger fire at bay. Yet even control fires cannot always be contained.
The Lord is the control fire, keeps us from being consumed by much greater fires.
Eventually, new life will spring from the charred remains. With the underbrush gone, new plants will have a chance to grow. Old dead branches are gone and new life will burst forth. Redemption may not be evident in the ground today, but one day, before we even realize what’s happening, LIFE will push past the ashes. Hope never fails.
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” - Romans 5:5
“Safe? said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King I tell you.”
-C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe