All Consuming Fire

On February 27, we experienced an unwanted level of excitement. A little before 6:00 that evening, a friend messaged me. She’d seen the Texas Panhandle Wildfires on the news and wanted to check on us. I had only been home a few minutes and I didn’t know of any wildfires in the area. While I checked the news, I also received a message from my dad. I kept a casual watchful eye on the situation since the fires were all well north of us. When I walked through the house around 8:45 PM, I smelled smoke. We have decent insulation and excellent windows. The only time I have smelled smoke from outside the fires were less than a mile away. I went outside to check for visible flames or smoke. Instead, I saw a growing haze. While the wind had decreased (from 30mph to 15mph) but also changed direction. The nearest fire was about 60 miles away, but the smoke filled our streets and homes.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire is now the largest wildfire in Texas history. The fire burned over one million acres of land and took nearly a month to completely contain. Thousands of livestock died, and hundreds of homes were destroyed, yet only two lives were lost. Despite returning to find nothing left of their homes or belongings, many people are determined to rebuild. 

NASA captured this picture. The burn scar of the fire is visible from space! Though great damage occurred the native perennial grasses have started to grow back. In time (and rain/irrigation), the grasslands will return. Regrowth may even be stronger and healthier.

Fire is a consuming force, burning through anything in its path. We often use the expression “spreading like wildfire,” but until you see this in a literal sense, grasping the full meaning is a challenge. As I watched the fires spread, uncontrolled and uncontainable, I thought about the consuming nature of fire. What if we were to be “on fire” in all we do?

Praise and Harmony recorded, “A Mighty Fortress” for the Majestic God Album. You can listen HERE. Part of the lyrics, taken directly from Scripture, say, “Our God is a consuming fire, a burning holy flame, with glory and freedom.” In Hebrews 12, the writer uses the account of Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai. No one could touch the mountain while the Lord’s presence was there. If they did, they would be consumed (Exodus 20:18–21Deuteronomy 5:22–33). The writer compares the covenant of Moses to the unshakeable Kingdom of Christ. Hebrews 12:28-29 declares, “Therefore, since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us be filled with gratitude, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. “For our God is a consuming fire.”” Gratitude. Reverence. Awe. In the face of fire, storms, or trials, our God remains faithful!

Much like rebuilding after a fire and waiting on the land to revive, we often experience great renewal after times of great devastation. No matter what we face, we have a choice. We can rebuild from the ashes of hurt or wallow in self-pity. We can rise to the occasion or cower in fear. We can live in despair or live in radiant joy.

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