Forest Fire Faith

This summer, while I was at camp with vanloads of students, I heard the terrifying news that Colorado Springs was, once again, fighting forest fires. Homes were evacuated, national agencies were rallied, and people were losing their homes and lives. I was on pins and needles, because my entire family lives there. I was riveted to every news source I could get (in-between chapel services and dodgeball tournaments). There was nothing I could do but watch and pray. That image came to mind today as I was thinking about “Jim”, and his growing and spreading faith.

Jim is a new follower of Christ. I had the privilege of leading him to Christ nearly a year ago. His faith is growing and spreading in amazing ways. Ways that are still developing.

The report that the fires were within half of mile from my parents, sisters, and their families, was awful. They were all evacuated – and were all safe. I know that forest fires are devastating, cause mass destruction, and take lives. Set hat aside for a moment, and consider the fantastic spreading force of a forest fire. I learned a lot from the news stations. When nothing dramatic was happening, they went into amazing detail of the power and force of fire.

Several of these details remind me of Jim’s faith:

  • Directional Uncertainty: No one knows for sure which way the wind will turn, or in what direction the fire will blaze. Jim is on fire for Christ, that’s for certain. It’s hard to tell which way his faith will grow next, or to whom it will spread. But it will.
  • Proximal Combustion: All it takes is being close to the blaze for a short time, and combustion is sure to happen. I’m seeing that with people in Jim’s life. They’re seeing his new faith and life, and are being drawn to Christ. As a matter of fact, we’ve had more than half a dozen guests, who are becoming regulars and being introduced to Christ, simply from being close to Jim, including most of his family.
  • Torching: When a large tree catches fire, it “torches”, which means it sends off sparks (much like your campfire). These sparks can be the size of your spread hand, and can travel up to half a mile.  75% of these “sparks” will start a new fire. This means one blazing tree can multiply the fire significantly, and can jump even the most impressive barriers. Faith is the same way. I’m unaware of any obstacle that can stand in the way of faith in Christ.

Thinking back to the Colorado fires, there wasn’t much I could do but watch, wait, and pray. And that’s what I’m doing with Jim. I’m watching expectantly, waiting to see what God’s going to do next, and praying for this fire to spread. I’m also doing everything I can to feed and fan the flames of his faith. It’s riveting!

For Discussion:

  • What fans the flames of faith for Christ in your life?
  • What are some of the things that slow the spread of our faith fires?

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