Every summer brings its share of campfires along with it. Why is it hard to have a campfire without a (burned) marshmallow or two? Everyone has an opinion of how to roast their marshmallow…burnt to a crisp or lightly browned. There is always one in the group that will put a marshmallow on a stick and hold it every so lightly over the fire so the marshmallow puffs but doesn’t brown. Personally, these people always irritate me! Because, you must understand, I have no patience for roasting a marshmallow. I eat mine burnt, and I like it!
The truth of the matter is, I don’t like my marshmallow burnt, I just refuse to exercise the patience it takes to sit by the fire and slowly, every so slowly keep turning the stick, watching for any suspicious dark spots. Or if you are like my husband, he will move his entire body to enable his marshmallow to be over the best coals for browning, not burning, his marshmallow. I ask, why get up and move when my lawn chair is perfectly planted?
Marshmallows and Fire and smores! A summer tradition!
Along with roasting the perfect marshmallow, always comes the question, “Where is the chocolate? Who brought the graham crackers?” It’s hard to have a roasted marshmallow without someone asking for smores. I will fall back on how to make a smore just as I did as a girl scout: 1. roast the marshmallow any way you like, 2 Prepare two graham cracker halves by laying a slice of Hershey’s chocolate bar on one-half, and, 3, squeeze marshmallow off the stick using the two graham crackers as the holder. Awesome-ness!
But isn’t it just like us, humans, we are never satisfied to let the most simple pleasures be enough for us, we always want the newest and the best, we always seem to have to have more than just the simple pleasures. So, someone, somewhere, always, will break from tradition and try something new! WHAT! Dark chocolate, not milk chocolate? Peanut butter? Oreo cookies instead of graham crackers?
Learning from Fire!
The past few weeks, we have had our share of campfires and roasted marshmallows. We have had family from out of state visiting. The relaxed evenings, sitting around a fire roasting a marshmallow or two, is a tradition for us. As I sat watching the kids, the marshmallows, the flame of the fire, enjoying laughter and talking of memories of the past, I was struck suddenly by memories of verses I’ve read:
John the Baptist wrote in Matthew 3:11 “…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
Mark wrote in Mark 9:43 about “Unquenchable fire, where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.”
Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:12 “…On that day He will set the heavens on fire.”
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:13 “But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.”
Isaiah wrote, back in the Old Testament in his book Isaiah 66:15 “See the Lord is coming with fire and His swift chariots roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of His anger and many will be killed by Him.”
Purposes of the Fire!
Thinking of the purposes man uses fire, the top three uses are:
And reading the above verses, God has the same purposes for the fire in man’s life also. They include these:
- Purifier… Only the work built done for Him will remain after Judgment Day.
- Light…His Holy Spirit lights the Fire within us, and we become the Light of the World.
- Heat…One day, the heavens will be set ablaze, and there will be an unquenchable fire where those who do not follow Him will spend eternity.
The gift we have in a fire is remarkable, something as simple as heat for a summer marshmallow roast or a Light that purifies our hearts. Only my God can accomplish something so simple yet profound as fire!
When I think how God has used fires in my life, I remember:
- I remember the fear and frustration of seeing my brothers entire business engulfed in fire. His life’s dream was going up in smoke, and I remember the next day as well, as I went to see the burnt shell of a building and his business gone.
- I can’t forget, will never forget, the fire that stole the lives of my husband’s oldest sister, her husband and their baby as they were trapped in their burning house.
These were fires of the “heat” variety. God uses this type of heat to cause me to learn to trust him as I prayed for my brother to recover from the loss and he did, I prayed for the nieces who survived the house fire and have grown to womanhood. Heat causes a warping in our hearts and thoughts, much like the warping of the siding seen after a fire. Emotional warping only God can repair. And just as new siding was installed on the new garage, it’s only God who can get me past the incredible hurt caused by this “heat.” I needed to learn to rely on Him.
I have met God by Fire also!
I’ve met God as the Purifier of my Soul. Remember Moses (Exodus 3), as he was confronted by a burning bush, he could have chosen to turn and run away, but he did not. He recognized God in that Bush. If he had reacted in his human fear, he would have run, but instead, he turned to the Burning Bush and recognized God and grew deeper in his Reverent fear.
I’ve met God as the Light of my Soul. As I read about Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego (Daniel 3), of their faith in God and how they talked of Him to others. They spoke and worshiped God in everything they did. So well did they do this, that it drew the death penalty by burning up in a heated furnace. They told others about Him and honored Him with their lives. It wasn’t until they were thrown into the fiery furnace that their Light was fully realized.
As I think about these men in history, I also realize my fires I’ve had to face in my lifetime. Because fires are not always open flames, there are fires that will destroy or have the power to purify. My fires include:
- There have been many deaths in my family. The loss of a family member is so hard; there is no comparison.
- My husband and I have lost everything financially and have tried to recover from it. You can read about part of this here: http://www.silverandgoldfriendship.com/is-god-your-refuge/
- I have been hurt by words.
- I have been laughed at.
- I have been challenged and judged for my faith in God.
- My children have been cheated.
- My children have hurt me at times.
- Our marriage has had its share of challenges, of ups and downs.
It was only in facing these “fires” as Moses did or feeling the hurts and burns that I realized the Fire of the One who has purified my soul and is continuing to do so. He is the Light in my Soul Who keeps me going daily. To turn into God, as Moses did, and not run from the fire, has helped me grow in my Christian walk with God. To face the Burning Bush in my life and understand I am standing on Holy Ground, keeps me grounded in my God. To be willing to go to death for my belief in my Unfailing God has turned my fires into a burning passion for serving others.
I pray you would know God as the Fire in your life. If you don’t, please, email me or leave me a comment here. Let’s get to know each other and how fire or The Fire is affecting your life.