We’ve been consuming a lot of firewood here the past few weeks. There’s just something about a cozy fireplace in the wintertime… and the extra heat in our living room is pretty nice, too.
I’ve also spent some time just watching the fire lick up the sides of the logs, slowly eating away at the pile of oak and turning solid wood into ash.
God’s interactions with humanity are often represented in the form of fire. In Exodus, Moses was called by a burning bush, and the Israelite nation was guided by night by a pillar of fire.
Sacrifices were burned up in offering to God; humanity’s way of atoning for sin to God of justice- and fire was often the sign that the sacrifice was accepted (like in Judges 6 and 1 Chronicles 21). The temple that Solomon built was consecrated by fire coming down from heaven.
God Himself is called a “consuming fire.” His holiness is often portrayed as fire. There’s lots of fire symbolism when it comes to God.
As I watched the logs in our little fireplace being consumed, I couldn’t help but think of a favorite verse of mine:
Typically, I’ve focused on the part about God’s love and His mercies.
But what about the consuming part?
Lamentations tells us that in His love, we are not consumed.
Unlike the chunks of oak in my fireplace, we’re not burned up by God, by His holiness. We have the amazing honor of being able to draw near to Him; the One who is the ultimate power and purity and majesty, holiness itself; and not be consumed, not be destroyed.
God’s fire has a different purpose in our lives.
To purify us.
That doesn’t mean that being in the fire will be easy or painless. The path to finding true relationship, dependence, and maturity in faith is often paved in disappointment and hurt.
But coming near to God, inviting His holy fire into your life to purify and cleanse and refine, will never destroy us- in His love, we’ll be made better in the end.
About the Author
Ally Vermeer spends her time wearing tie-dye, answering phones, listening to summer camp songs, and watching turkeys outside her office window. She writes about life at a Bible Camp, counts her blessings, and shares her thoughts about finding peace and wholeness at A Home Called Shalom.