What does that word make you think of? If you lived in Oregon right now, I might venture to guess that your thoughts immediately went to the wildfires and/or the firefighters who are courageously working on those fires. But fire has another side to it, a side which often gets lost in the smoke, so to speak.
When someone starts a fire, he/she has a motive. This purpose can be good (e.g. to heat a home, to light an altar candle), or destructive (e.g. arson). Our God has started a fire as well, but we fail to notice. When Christ came to us in the flesh, he said, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth…” (Luke 12:49). Thinking of the wildfires and reflecting on this quote from Scripture, I had to stop and ask, “why?” Why would the Lord come to cast a destructive thing like fire upon us? We have seen what fire can do.It has the power to consume buildings, destroy forest lands, etc. If we stop and look at it, we will see more.
Talking with a former firefighter shed a lot of light on this quote. He told me that a wildfire can be a good thing. It clears out a lot of dead debris and helps the forest to grow strong and healthy. Also, there are certain types of trees, such as Oregon’s native Ponderosa Pine, which require fire in order to release their seeds.
Taking all of this into consideration made me realize that the Lord wants to clear out some debris from our soul, and help us to grow. Furthermore, He wants us to spread the seed of the Gospel, which often happens more readily when there is a fire “lit under us”. We see this time and again in Church history: times of great persecution were also times of incredible growth in the Church.
Sometime, a fire will destroy that which we hold precious, and it is difficult to bear. What do you hold dear, and why? Is it something that, if taken away, changes the very core of who you are as a human being? God is not out to take vengeance on any of us, but sometimes we tend to take action against him. We create idols out of work or possessions quite readily, but these should never take the place of God in our lives, of the lives of our family. The most precious gift you can give to someone you love does not have a price tag. Remember that: God’s love does not have a price tag. Your house, your car, your pets cannot compare to the tremendous love God has for us. What about our relatives and friends? They are a reminder of God’s love to us, and therefore should be held in reverence. One saintly writer said that, besides the Eucharist, your neighbor is the closest thing you have to touching God in this life! Again, this comes after the Eucharist, which is God truly and really present with us.
If every material possession you had was taken away, would you still cry out to God? Would you still cling to Him as your sure and faithful support? He would still cling to you. He would still long for your eternal salvation. I pray that you truly come to know this in a tangible way. He longs for you, regardless of what you have done in life. He loves you and desires you to be with Him in Heaven for all eternity! I pray that you really and truly realize this.