Only God Can Prevent Forest Fires
Remember the public service message that started back in the 1940’s and still continues today, “Smokey the Bear says, Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires.” Well, in so many ways that’s true in both our world of nature and physical life. But, what about another type of “fire” that ignites from the emotions of the heart? I’m talking about the “fires-of- life” that can often start with or without our input, interference, assistance, or help. Just like forest fires, the emotional “fires of life,” and those of society, can bring about severe damage and destruction; sometimes even fatal. How can we, as Believers, prevent this type of fire from becoming severely destructive and out of control within our own hearts and lives?
The Truth is that “ONLY God Can Prevent Forest Fires” that originate and ignite from the heart of mankind. Most often the “fires of life” begin with a small spark the same way as natural forest fires do. It can be a “spark” from a negative word, a negative look, or a negative attitude. It can be a “spark” from a wrongful or misplaced desire. It can be a “spark” from anger, resentment, or bitterness. It can be from a spark of jealousy or misunderstanding. Nevertheless, before you know it the spark has taken flight and becomes a roaring out-of-control burning issue that renders everything within its path destroyed. Too often the best of families suffer from these types of fires. Businesses suffer from these types of fires. Neighbors and friends suffer from these types of fires. And, churches (local assemblies) even suffer greatly from these types of destructive fires.
Too often when these types of “fires-of-life” erupt, we immediately seek out the help and support of others that may not be qualified in such fire protection or damage control. ONLY God, our Creator, can put out the fires of erroneous passion, hate, malice, injustice, bitterness, unforgiving spirits, and indifference. ONLY God possesses the tools, experience, knowledge, and wisdom necessary to quench such tumultuous fires.
The overlying problem lies within the heart of man. Sadly, man would rather seek the help and assistance of others to put out life’s fires than to seek out the eternal and experienced Owner of the Forest! Calling upon God is not like calling upon another human being or dialing 911. In order to call upon God to put out the fires of life, one must first humble himself or herself in such a way as to ask God’s forgiveness for any and all involvement they may have had in the situation or matter; whether they believe they may be at fault or not. Humbleness is the first requirement and requisite to call upon God to quench the fires of life. Second, man must be willing to suffer the losses that the fires of life may have caused; whether temporary or long-term. Man (or woman) learns from their mistakes…the bigger the mistake the harder the lesson. We must be willing to “submit” ourselves to God’s school-of-life and be willing to “graduate” ONLY AFTER we have met God’s minimal requirements that include Love of God and Love for one another. Third, we must pray for all stakeholders involved in the matter or situation not as we would have them to react or respond, but as God would have them to respond. This requires our utmost patience, time, and waiting; and often the waiting period can be rather lengthy. Have you ever seen a destroyed forest reproduce and replenish itself over night? No; of course not. Once a beautiful forest has been destroyed by the winds of fire it can take a life-time to recover. But, if you will look closely after you have sought the help of God you can often see the signs of tiny sprigs of new growth lying just below the charred surface. Only God can bring forth “beauty from ashes.”
You may be facing or going through a particular “fire-of-life” right now that has you running for help or even for your life, protection, and shelter. You may be greatly grieving over your losses as you watch the flames of life consume and destroy the things that you love and hold dear to your heart. But, let’s examine the advice of our trained Fire Protectors and Firemen. As the fire safety technique teaches, “Stop, drop, and roll.” Stop running and panicking. Panic only adds wind to the situation and spreads the flames farther and farther. At this very moment just Stop! Next, take in a deep breath and “Drop” on your knees before God. Make God your Fire Chief in all matters of life. Seek out HIS help before you call upon anyone else to deliver you. Lastly, “Roll” on with your life each and every day leaving God in charge of rebuilding your life and everything that you have lost during the fire. Remember, ONLY God can grow a tree. Only God can bring forth new life and new growth. Learn to lean on Him as your forest replenish and rebuilds. Also, learn to lean on Him as your Forest Ranger who looks out for you and shows you how to avoid forest fires through His own Words, The B.I.B.L.E. (Amen!)
No matter what we do to prevent life’s personal forest fires they can occur and come our way with or without warning. We must be ready at all points in life to know the rules of “life’s forest fires.” Remember, before you call 911 to sound an alarm for others to come running, “Stop and Drop,” by humbly going to Jesus first in prayer. Sound out the alarms of Heaven through diligent, fervent prayer. Give Jesus all the facts and details that you know of. Then, trust in Him to bring the right equipment (God’s Word) to put out the “fires of life.” Lastly, “Roll” on with your life while being patient, positive, and productive as God restores, renews, and replenish your losses. With GOD, our Great Fire Chief and Forest Protector, in time your new forest may even be bigger, better, and more beautiful than the forest you lost; or you ever imagined. Remember, Only God Can Prevent Forest Fires…Only God Can Rebuild, Replenish, and Restore…Amen!
Remember, God Loves You!
Lin T Rollins, M.Ed. Author