Burn, baby burn
So, apparently, if y’all didn’t know… Trees and plants, in general, are more prone to catch on fire when moisture is removed which explains why forest fires are more likely to happen in dry seasons. I thought this was an interesting fact because I never questioned why forest fires happen. Forest fires often occur naturally and it may be a surprise, but forest fires create a lot of benefits for the environment.
I’ve grown up fearing forest fires because everytime I heard about them on the news and it seemed that they were portrayed as a demonic other. They were something to fear. Just the thought of fire can instill fear in us. It’s powerful, uncontainable, and contagious. It latches on to anything that will allow it to burn and to keep it alive and it needs something to burn off of.
Though fire may seem vicious, it brings plenty of benefits to the environment.
1. Fires remove the plants that don’t belong and it burns away all of the undergrowth which allows for more sunlight to come in and reach the forest floor so that plants can grow!
2. The ashes left after a fire can be nutritious for the surrounding soil and vegetation.
3. The burned trees leftover can provide shelter for animals. Who doesn’t like free shelter?
Basically, forest fires clear everything out and serves as a catalyst for regeneration and growth. It brings biodiversity and expands existing wildlife populations. Hoorah!
Recently, I’ve been meditating on a thought presented by my pastor: we need to set the wood so that God can set the fire. I’ve been thinking about what it means in my own life and have been praying for God to set the fire in my life. To be honest, that prayer scares me because fire is intimidating. Oftentimes, we want fire, but we don’t know how to keep it going. Fire has to be fed so that it can grow, similarly to how we feed wood into our bonfires.
I asked God where I could get the wood to set and I would be willing to place it down for Him to light up. He spoke to me clearly and knowing how I love metaphors, he presented the idea of a forest fire. As I mentioned, I don’t think of forest fires fondly, but the Lord revealed to me that the forest is where I would get the wood and he would create a forest fire. I told him that forest fires weren’t good and that I didn’t want a forest fire to happen…but again, I knew I had to be open if I wanted a real fire to happen. The Lord spoke to me so clearly on sacrifices and that I would have to sacrifice a lot if I wanted him to set a fire. See, I realized that my forest is what I have been growing and maintaing in my life. I have different trees, but they’re all my trees I have nurtured and grown. A few of my trees I’ve grown are pride, fear, and time. That’s just to name a few, though. I’ve got a whole forest of trees and bushes.
We want the fire, but we can’t always expect a fire to appear out of no where for us. What the Lord wanted me to do was to be active. I had asked him where I could get the wood for Him to set a fire. And here’s what He told me. He told me that I needed to cut down these trees I had built–what I felt entitled to and lay it before Him to set a fire. Dang, that seriously hurt but I am more than willing to do so. These trees have covered me and given me security but the Lord wants to burn it all down. He wants to set a forest fire in the forests we have built for ourselves. The forests that you are hiding in and allowing undergrowth to takeover and block the rays of sunlight are harmful—we need fire.
Christians often want “to be on fire”, but forget that when they were first on fire for the Lord was when they laid down their lives–their entire forest to the Lord. But over the years or over a few months, they have started building their forests again, never sacrificing anything to the Lord. No longer are they “on fire” for Christ. I have slowly, but surely with God’s grace, have been cutting down my trees so that I can set the wood and He can set the fire. This is the desire of my heart. Just like a forest fire, I want:
1. To remove the plants that don’t belong in my life and kill the undergrowth so that I can really be exposed to sunlight
2. Ashes to give protein to my life through the reminder that I am merely dust and I need God to feed me with protein.
3. My burnt trees to teach those around me and provide shelter through my own experiences so that I can carry their burdens.
I wanted fire, and He revealed to me how to set the wood and where to get the wood. It wouldn’t be a sacrifice if it didn’t hurt and it wouldn’t be a sacrifice if it wasn’t something near and dear to us. If you want “to be on fire” for Christ, begin to ask Him where to get the wood and He’ll set the fire. Whether it be that you want a fire to be set in someone’s life or your own, lay yourself down. I’m learning that it seriously hurts, but after the forest fire is set, it brings new growth and biodiversity in my life. I no longer will am nurturing my trees, but His trees that will bear fruit.
Forest fires are seen and become big news on television, so if a forest fire is active in your life everyone will see. It’ll lead to expansion for His kingdom. Keep feeding the fire, because it laying yourself never ends but be comforted that the Lord is gracious and man, he is merciful, too!
I’ll set the wood and Lord, you set the fire.