We tried to light a fire tonight.
After three days of torrential rains, dry wood was nowhere to be found. We had stashed away a few pieces in our shed — pieces we had gathered last week from the low “river bottom” section of our property. They had dried only partially since then.
But the night was cold and we wanted a fire. So we tried anyway.
And tried… and tried… and tried.
Paper bags gave way to paper towels around a tiny votive candle. Teepees made of damp kindling on top. Partially burned wood from our last fire. Surely that was drier than any other wood we have… right?
Smoke from the damp wood filled our eyes and lungs. Our meager kindling, damp as it was, refused to really catch. The paper towels burned to ashes and the early flames they had fed died out.
It would have been so easy to give up.
But the night was growing darker and colder by the minute. We knew what a blessing the fire would be — bringing both light and warmth. If we could only ignite it…
So we kept trying… nurturing every little spark that wouldn’t give up. And slowly, with fresh kindling and a lot of coaxing, the flame caught… and became a Roaring Fire!
Then I realized. It’s a picture of our day… isn’t it, Lord?
The “night” is growing darker and colder by the minute. The perfect time for a “Roaring Fire” holding out the promise of Light and Warmth.
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” (Exodus 13:21)
When those words were written, You were leading Your people to the Promised Land. A land of milk and honey — of great beauty and provision. A land they could call Home.
Today, You are leading us all towards another “land” of promise. The place we will call Home forever. A place of beauty and purpose and provision beyond our wildest dreams.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
So what “fire” are You providing today, Lord… to light the way to the Land You are promising all those who will turn to You?
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden… let your light shine before others, so they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:14a).
But what if we, too, have been soaking in the world, Lord… just like those we You have called us to reach? What if our everyday choices have dampened our flame so much it struggles to stay lit? What if the “neighbors” we are to love — those in our sphere of influence — are too “drenched” for our spark to light?
We are tempted to just give up sometimes… aren’t we, Lord? But what is at stake if we do?
“How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'” (Romans 10:14-15)
And what assurances do You give us… that our spark will never go out, no matter what?
“… after me comes one who is more powerful than I… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11b)
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7)
“He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)
Funny how our fire outside is now blazing. Amazing what a little “not giving up” can do.
Light our fire tonight, Lord! Set us ablaze for Your glory… that we may spread like wildfire!