I was on a hike this weekend on a mountain ridge in western North Carolina. This particular ridge just happened to catch on fire last summer. I’d never seen anything like it- standing on a trail amidst charred trees. The fire came very close to conference centers and homes; at that moment I realized how scared the residents must have been to be so close to the fire. For a time, flames licked the trees stripping them of all life. Black smoke impaired the vision and hindered one’s steps. Without a mask, choking and suffocating are inevitable.
I don’t know much about the science of fire and what firefighters go through, but I liken this experience to our personal seasons of trial. Hard times can leave us feeling the flames of intense “heat” beating against our body, mind, and soul, stripping us of our security and everything we believe in. The fear hinders our movement and confusion impedes our thoughts. Our situation stinks like the charred limbs on the trees and the blackness surrounding us impairs our vision and hinders our steps. We feel defeated, destroyed.
But take heart! As I continued my hike I saw restoration and new life!
God says, When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. (Isaiah 43:2b NIV)
The New Living Translation says, When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 71:20, Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
God brought new life to that charred tree. And we can be encouraged that God will bring new life- healing, restoration, and new beginnings- to us as well.
Debbie has worked with both high school and college-aged woman for over 30 years. She is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, co-founder of Shine! Ministries and a partner with the Polished Conference L.L.C. In addition, she has an online prayer/Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Living Life Together. Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series and is a monthly contributor to The Polished Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shineministriesnc/