by Michelle Hodges
I have a real fireplace in my new house. One of my very favorite things in this world is a real fire in my own living room. I love everything about them; the sound, the smell, the look of them, EVERYTHING! Chances are, on any night after Thanksgiving, you will find me curled up in a chair with a blanket and my cat, only my Christmas tree for light, and a big fire roaring.
But, there is just one minor issue with the real fireplace… I have to actually build and light a fire. And then, I have to baby it to keep it going if I want to sit there for a while. No buttons, no knobs, no gas logs, just me, some wood, and some giant matches. It takes a lot of work and patience to maintain my perfect fire.
Last week, I got ready to make my first fire of the season. I had been waiting all day for the sun to set and the temperature to drop. Finally! Finally, I felt like it was an acceptable time. I tried everything I could think of to get that fire started, but the wood would not burn. After two hours, an entire box of starter sticks, a giant stack of my children’s construction paper, and a half of a box of long reach matches, I had to stop. I finally sat back and had to admit the truth. Nothing I did would get that fire started. Although it looked fine, my firewood was wet. I had made all the right moves. I’d followed all the logical steps. That wood was not going to burn. It just couldn’t.
It occurred to me later on, that I’m just like that wet, soggy firewood. I am completely incapable of anything redeeming without Jesus calling the shots. I cannot be a shining beacon in this world without the Holy Spirit directing my steps. I cannot radiate love and compassion if I’m not overflowing with my Father’s love for me. I cannot be patient in my own home if am not fully aware of God’s unending patience with me. Day in and day out, my Heavenly Father patiently tends the flames of my faith. He doesn’t give up after two hours. He doesn’t give in when I’m completely unresponsive. Not for one single second does He leave me.
This Christmas season, if you get a chance, build a fire. Build a fire and think on the God who walks with us every moment of every day. Think of the Father who provides for our every need. Think of the Father who loves us more than we can possibly comprehend. Think of the Son who is our one and only Hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13