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After the Fires

Posted on: Monday, January 19, 2015


Growing up in California, you know about wildfire season. This is the time of year when helicopters encircle the sky and the sky lights up with smoke and flames and firefighters camp out in small towns like mine that border national forests. Sometimes during really bad years, ash falls in sheets for weeks, and you wake up with your car covered in it like snow. The city officials cancel Little League because children shouldn’t be running in that air. Smokey the Bear comes to your elementary school classroom to remind you that “only you can prevent forest fires.” Small diners provide free meals for weary fire crews.

Despite this annual devastation, the forests in California are green and beautiful all year round. There are places near where I live, where I can stand surrounded by nothing but miles of trees—national park or rez land—and feel like I just discovered the world.

This is because God designed forests to grow again after wildfires. Without the heat of those flames, the seeds beneath the soil would not release and grow. The fire that kills the old forest gives new woods life.

Every day, in and out of fire season, we pray for peace. We pray for a calm and even existence. Certainly no one in their right mind would wish havoc upon themselves. But when those seasons come, we should not be surprised.

This world isn’t the utopia you were promised. These are the Shadowlands. When I stand on a mountain and see nothing but God’s majesty for hundreds of miles all around me, it is marvelous to think this is just the scar tissue of the world that was, and is nothing but a shadow of the one yet to come. This, I think to myself at the Yosemite Valley, the Pacific Ocean, the Grand Canyon, the Marble Mountains—somehow this is a fallen world.

So in the meantime, there are earthquakes, famines, floods–the seizures and sobs of a broken world fighting its Maker. We suffer loss and pain. These are the fires of our lives.

And in those fires, many are consumed. Adult hearts grow small and hard, eager to bite back at the cruel world before it can sink its teeth into frail human flesh again. We bend and finally we break. Our selfishness becomes cemented. Our self-love grows roots and vines and becomes more subtle, more clever, more all-consuming. We lose our innocence, our trust, our hope. This is the fire apart from Christ.

But in Christ, we are new people. We have the capacity to love no matter what because we ourselves are loved. Not because we are better or stronger, but because Christ works in and through us, we are not consumed in the fire. Instead, He uses the heat to burn the old and to grow the good works and the virtues He planted in our hearts.

Whatever you are going through today, know that it is not random. If you belong to Jesus Christ, He is faithful to use the fire. Nothing is without purpose. This, too, is for your good. Let Him use the heat of your circumstances to soften your heart instead of harden it. May you become more loving, more selfless, more giving, more generous, more compassionate, more humble in the same fire that would have made your former self bitter and brittle and angry and hateful. This is the great work of God in the hearts and lives of the redeemed: We are not lost in the fire, we are only refined.



  • kathy

    Loved this amazing post that you shared. What a beautiful message to share and I know it’s not random for me to find your website. Truly amazing, can’t wait to read the rest of your blogs & posts :)

    • keelybrazil@gmail.com

      Hi Kathy, thanks so much for letting me know. It’s super powerful and encouraging to hear that these words were useful to you. Hope you are well and thank you again for your encouragement! xx

    • Viola Osborne

      Wow! What great & Godly posts! Glory to GOD! Thank you so much! The LORD richly & lovingly bless you more & more, as you continue to bless others! (:

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