Friday, May 4, 2012
When you go through the sea, I am with you. When you go through rivers, they will not sweep you away. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, and the flames will not harm you. ~ Isaiah 43:2, GW
You could see the well-defined edge of it as we stopped on our hay wagon ride. It almost looked like a black paved road forging right through the middle of these farm fields flanked by woods. Apparently the team who performed the controlled burn knew what they were doing and took the task seriously. The land owner described to us in detail the fireproof suits adorning the men and the voluminous smoke that swept through the area during the fire.
While the intention was to burn the invasive, undesirable species in this field and subsequently seed acres of lovely prairie flowers, the land owner pointed out that after only a week, beautiful, natural, native species were poking their heads up through the ashes. What a fascinating endeavor this was, all in the interest of restoring this prairie area to its intended beauty. The families who came out to Zachariah's Acres Respite Campus in the months ahead would surely witness a breathtaking sight indeed!
The memory of these fields and their story surfaced once again as I studied God's word. Certainly life's trials are much like this controlled burn. Just like the boundaries of this intentional fire, the Lord puts limits to our suffering. He only scorches the specific areas of our lives that He sees in need of rehabilitation at the time. Like the dross removed from silver, so are the "invasive species" of our lives. (See Proverbs 25:4) Once this ugliness is forcibly removed, God's best for us can take its rightful place. The glory He intends to shine through us can be more readily observed. And while the flames may seem all-consuming, they do not consume the land itself. Similarly, we are not destroyed, but transformed by our trials.
Are you feeling the heat today? Know that you do not walk through this alone! While you may feel like agony will overtake you, if you keep your eyes on your Heavenly Father, and cooperate with what He is trying to recreate in you, it will all be worthwhile in the end. God will, "...give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3, NKJV)
Pray: Oh, Lord, too many days I feel scorched by the pains of life. Use them to create new beauty in my life. And help me to remember that as I remain in You, I will not be harmed, but will emerge victorious.