Yesterday morning I needed a fire. I didn’t need it because it was cold outside. In fact, it wasn’t really fire weather at all. I was comfortable in my short-sleeve pajamas as I curled up on the couch for my morning quiet time. I didn’t want a warm beverage, and I quickly discarded the sweater I had pulled out just in case. But, somehow I just felt like I needed that fire.
It probably had something to do with the fact that Doug was gone. He left on Monday to head to a conference. I was supposed to go with him, but our plans changed at the last minute. Things had gone well in his absence, despite the change in plans, but there was a security missing with him gone. Of course, there was the fact that I just missed him. But, I also missed the warmth that naturally comes from having a kindred spirit physically there with me.
So, I built a fire. I added some kindling and another log to the wood that was left in the fireplace from a previous fire we had just let die out. For a while there wasn’t much to the fire. The kindling and smallest log burned enough for me to enjoy a small fire during my quiet time, and then the bigger logs just smoldered as the morning wore on and I came and went while taking care of other tasks around the house. Then just before I sat down on the couch with my netbook to work on some writing, I stirred the fire and added a log. The fire began to blaze up from the hot bed of coals, and before long crackling, warm comfort was wafting from the fireplace. Even as the day grew warmer, I turned the heater way down and let the fire keep burning. It was beautiful.
It’s amazing what comfort something so simple can bring. To me yesterday morning that fire had nothing to do with being a source of heat. It had to do with being a source of presence. So often in Scripture, God’s presence is equated with or represented by fire. I know God Himself wasn’t in that fire, but as I watched those flames flicker as if alive, I felt His presence in a very real way. As I sat in front of the small flames and had my quiet time, I sensed my heart softening and preparing to hear from Him. As I saw the smoldering logs throughout the middle part of the morning, I sensed His presence glowing like a burning coal in my heart, creating a foundation to draw on throughout the day. As the fire burned bright and warm later in the morning, I felt Him surrounding me while I wrote and worked.
No, God was not in that fire. But, God’s creation – including that fire – is intended to point us to Him. It was made for the explicit purpose of letting us know His love for us. His very presence is revealed all around us, whether it be in a fire, a new spring flower, or a child’s laughter.
What do you need today? What part of God’s creation is He using to draw you to Himself? It just might be time to build your own fire, and let His presence surround and consume you in the most beautiful of ways.