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How a Forest Fire Reminded Me of the Refiner’s Fire

Feeling a little lost, even abandoned by God in a tough season? I've been struggling with it, but a fire gave me eyes to see purpose in the Refiner's Fire.(Last Updated On: May 2, 2017)

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Fire is dangerous, destructive, scary. But the Bible promises us the Refiner’s fire has purpose in our lives, even when it feels like just a forest fire.

Have you been struggling through a difficult season? Feeling a little lost, maybe even abandoned by God? I know I have! Grasping at His truths and promises, but fighting fear has been my everyday for months.

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And in one quick, almost throw-away moment driving down the highway, God reminded me He’s working all things together for my good.

Thick black smoke rose from the dense Georgia pines enveloping our van as we drove past. Flickering orange-red tongues licked at the ground, steadily gaining territory in its battle for supremacy over the vegetation that crowded the forest floor.

My daughter gasped. Should we call 9-1-1?!

No, honey, it’s what’s called a ‘controlled burn.’ They do it on purpose. The foresters use the fire to clear the forest floor of weeds that are taking up the resources the trees need, giving the trees more water and nutrients.

The fire also burns away dead material leaving only the nutrient rich soil. The fire looks scary, but it is a necessary part of keeping the forest healthy.

Feeling a little lost, even abandoned by God in a tough season? I've been struggling with it, but a fire gave me eyes to see purpose in the Refiner's Fire.

I kept driving but I couldn’t stop thinking about the fire. Something in those flames and the controlled burn felt like God drawing my attention.

Don’t you see that is what I’ve been doing in your life? In a flash, God shared this intimate vision of how the Refiner’s fire of my injury had been working in my life.

Isaiah 48:10 (ESV) Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

This season of visiting disability has been terribly rough. I’ve tried to trust God’s promise that nothing is wasted in my life, but I’ve cried many tears of frustration and fear. But in the end, He always answers my prayers for a glimpse of what He’s doing.
I’ve seen God’s hand using this time in many ways despite the emotional and physical pain.

Before my injury, I had been struggling with feeling overwhelmed by my schedule. Between marriage, parenting, homeschool, church, my part-time job, and various activities, I couldn’t catch my breath.

Everything I was doing was important and worthwhile, but it was too much. I had felt God telling me to let some things go, but I didn’t know what, so I just kept holding onto it all.

Everything good isn't always what God has for us to do. The Refiner's fire refined my mission. Click To Tweet

As an extreme introvert, I need hours of silence before the noise of the world dims enough for me to hear the quiet voice inside my heart. I can’t write; I can’t find my center, feeling frazzled and discouraged. Some people can do so much more, but I can’t. And I’m realizing that’s okay.

I was missing my mission playing the comparison game.

I was looking to other women in the body of Christ and feeling there was a list of things I was supposed to be doing, while I should have been looking at Christ.

Before my hip replacement failed, I had prayed for God to help me find some rest. One of these days, I’ll learn to be careful what I pray for . . . 😉

I was missing MY mission playing the comparison game. But God gave my mission field only to me. Click To Tweet
The Refiner’s fire cleared away good things that weren’t God things

And gave me time to focus on my spiritual life, my marriage, my parenting, and being busy at home. I’d been so busy everywhere else, that I had nothing left for my home.

By clearing the forest floor of my life, the Refiner’s fire gave the most important things room to grow. I didn’t realize how much busy had been robbing us of joy.

But God did. And I miss my friends, but I don’t miss busy. I love having all day to focus on doing what’s best for my daughter’s education. I’ve seen her blossoming with our extended times at home. She needed the structure and attention.

 

I’ve seen my marriage grow leaps and bounds during this season. My husband has been beyond selfless in his care for me, which has just opened my heart to him in beautiful ways.

I’ve learned to give him more of me as well. Giving so much of my time and myself to everyone else had left him feeling left out and alone. We’ve learned to be friends again, laughing together, holding hands, falling in love all over again.

A fire might be temporarily painful for the forest, but what remains is stronger, and the new growth is lush and rich.

1 Peter 1:7 (ESV) So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
I love how God used a forest fire to show me how affliction strengthens my faith, draws me closer, gentles my heart. His refining reminds me of His eternal plan for my life.
The Refiner’s fire is not finished with me yet, but I know that what it leaves is the freedom of being focused on being prepared for God’s kingdom.
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25 thoughts on “How a Forest Fire Reminded Me of the Refiner’s Fire

  1. I never thought of it that way before, but God does refine with a controlled fire!

    1. Nothing is lost that He wants us to keep. Not painless, but perfect.

  2. Great reminder! ❤

  3. This post really resonates with me. I have a hard time saying no to people and things so find myself stuck in “busy” all too often. And it doesn’t do well for our home life. So i frequently take a step back to regroup. Like you said the refining fire is not done with me yet 😉

    1. When I didn’t no what to say no to, God chose for me. I will have to learn that my service to God may not look like someone else’s and that is okay.

  4. What really spoke to me about this post was the controlled burn! Man, that puts things into perspective!

    Lo | http://www.lotanner.com

    1. I needed that perspective for sure!

  5. Amen! What is left behind is nutrient rich soil. May this difficult journey you are in reap the same and may you stay confident in what the Lord is doing.

    1. I need to pray for strength every hour. It gets hard and then easy for a bit again and then hard again.

  6. This is the price of presenting ourselves as living sacrifices; the detritus gets burnt up. Great blog. Nicely written.

  7. What a great picture of what God does in our lives. Thanks for sharing about your season, and helping me to reflect on my own.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it

  8. Just this weekend i felt like God was confirming there are some things he want to clean up in my heart. Thank you for this post! very timely.

    1. Love how God works those things! I’m glad it was something others needed to hear too

  9. wow this is an awesome reminder, thanks for the illustration.

    1. Glad you appreciated it!

  10. Such a good reminder that God is in control and knows exactly what He’s doing. Why do we ever doubt? But we do. Thanks for this. God has been working in my life as well, through difficulties, but He is good and He knows what He’s about! – Amy
    http://stylingrannymama.com/

    1. I know it makes my heart happy to be able to see purpose in the struggles!

  11. Sometimes God needs to do some cleaning up in our lives in order that we may become more like Him

  12. I love this. I would agree that a controlled burn is very much like the refiner’s fire, purging away harmful things. I will say, though, that from someone familiar with wildfires, a controlled burn is not generally referred to as a forest fire.

    1. Yeah. I took some liberty with my title.

  13. What a beautiful object lesson! And perfect scripture support! I can totally relate. Thanks for this beautiful reminder of God’s refining care and love. It is all for our good and His glory!

    1. Thank you! I hope it is something that helps people in difficult places to hold onto those promises until they can start to see God’s purpose.

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