We loved the "unseasonably" warm weather yesterday. We celebrated by cleaning out flower beds and trimming off the dead heads of perennials. We burned leaves. We burned dead heads. We burned loose branches lying around the yard. We burned pine cones. We burned dead ornamental grasses swaying in the breeze. Now that the dead is gone, the new green shoots can raise their heads.
Such a reminder as I've explained to the children how God sends "fires" into our lives to burn away the deadness. Once the deadness is gone God can grow new things in our lives that the deadness had been choking out. The "fires" are painful indeed, but on the other side is the beauty of greenness, and the flowers and fruit we know will come later in the season. And so rather than cursing the "fires", can we rejoice in them, knowing that God will very carefully watch the burning and make sure the fire burns only where He intends it to burn? Only what is dead will burn. Only the certain places He chooses will feel the heat. And He never leaves the "fires" alone. He stands by. Very close. Because this is a controlled burn. And thankfully, HE is the One in control. Not me.
Then I think of Job. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." And then Hebrews 12, starting at verse 3 and moving on through the chapter.
"It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (7-11)
And so today I'm thinking about fire. Fire to consume the dross. Fire to burn up the deadness that keeps me cool toward the Father. Fire that clears out the old and makes room for the new.
So if you're facing the fire, lift your eyes and see the Father. He's standing very close, watching the burn. He won't leave you alone. He'll make sure the fire doesn't leap to places it shouldn't. But He's allowing the fire so that new growth can appear. The pain is for the moment, but it will allow greenness, and new fruit. Look past the pain and the burning. The Father is watching. The Father is loving. The Father is YOUR Father.
And spring is just around the corner.