Today we took a walk behind our house, looking around us at the layered mountain ridges outlined in fog, charred stumps, and blackened earth. We didn't walk far.
Our usual routine is to walk a ways and then stop and sit on the logs and look around at our mountain view. But today, there was no place to sit. Every stump and log was still blackened with soot, and the charred oils in every stump would have stained our clothes.
As we came down through the scorched hillside back to our house, my son and I noticed the few little trees that had survived the heat and flames of our Canyon fire. They were all along the path.
First one, then another, and the more, with two black lines skirting in stark contrast along either side of the path. They were small trees that had been planted before the fire, but had lived through it unharmed.
It reminded me of one of my favorite passages that the Lord has brought to my mind many times when we have walked through trouble:
"But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
God doesn't promise us that our life will be free from pain, difficult and weakness, but he does promise to be with us and to bring us through these things "unharmed".
When I was little, I thought that meant I wouldn't suffer or live the pain of broken relationships, betrayal, oppression and dishonor. I didn't understand that when Jesus lived that life for me, He was also calling me to follow His example for love of others.
Now that I know Jesus better, I understand that when these painful things come, He will protect my spirit from bitterness, hatred, and pride, and give me the freedom to live life in the sweetness of His Spirit....of what is first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits." James 3:17
My prayer for you today is that you live and abide in Jesus, under the covering of His precious blood, and come through each fire "unharmed." That the beauty of Christ would shine through you, so that when others see you walk out of your fire, they will say, "their hair was not singed, their clothes were not burned, and there was no smell of smoke on them." Daniel 3:27
Halley Faville lives with her husband and children in their mountain home in Oregon.