Finding God in the Fire

9:57 AMHeather

Fires are devastating.  How's that for stating the obvious?  Yes, I mean the literal fire.  Just this last week, dear friends learned their son was burned on 16% of his body from a gas explosion.  Devastating.  Difficult.  Painful.  But, I also mean the abstract use of the term fire.  Fiery trials.  Times of testing.  As I've shared here over and over again, I am burdened by the trials I see occurring all around me.   Also in the last week, a sorority sister learned her 6-year-old son has cancer.  A high school friend watches her son fight in ICU for health and recovery.  Friends from my life group wrestle with dying and sick grandparents.  Other friends make difficult medical decisions for a child facing chronic pain.  Mothers weary from parenting children through tough times.  Fire.  All around us.

How good and precious it is to see just what the Lord has to say about such times.  Because--trust me here--He has much to offer us by way of encouragement.  In Deuteronomy 33, we see Moses bless the 12 tribes of Israel.  Such rich language, pouring over those children of God.  If you've never read it, I'd challenge you to explore the whole chapter.  Go a step further, even--and speak these words of blessings over your spouse or your son or a friend going through a trial of their own.  How about Deuteronomy 33:12 for example?

“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him,
   for he shields him all day long,
   and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.”

There's a great verse to pray for a struggling friend.  As I camped out in Deuteronomy 33 myself, I was struck by verse 16--of course, led there in my study of God's favor.  I first skimmed right through it, and then it hit me between the eyes--the depths of it--the challenge to find God, even in the fire.  

May the Lord bless him (v.13)...
with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
   and the favor of him who dwelt in the burning bush
.(v. 16)

The favor of him who dwelt in the burning bush.  Who dwelt in the burning bush.  That phrase played over and over in my mind.  I chewed on it, prayed for wisdom, and here is what I wrote in my prayer journal.

The favor of He who meets us where we are.  In the desert, tending flocks.  Or in the midst of our trials.  He meets us exactly where we are.  The favor of He who stays and dwells among us.  And, the favor of He who can do these things:

1.  what has never been done before
2.  what defies natural law (a burning bush that never burns up)
3.  what blows our mind
4.  what speaks to us, exactly where we are
5.  what is awe-inspiring
6.  what becomes a story for the ages of His great glory
7.  what gets our attention
8.  what draws us to Him
9.  what leads us to new places, new purposes, new challenges, new miracles
10.  what changes our paths and our plans
11.  what draws us to dependence on Him--to rely on Him

Glimpse of grace:  You may be like Moses, just minding your business, tending your flocks.  Being a mom.  Doing your job.  Even serving your church.  Suddenly, a burning bush appears.  A fire.  A fiery trial.  Flames lick at you, threatening to consume you.  May we be like Moses.  May we embrace our burning bush.  May we see the fork in the road--the opportunity God gives us to encounter all those things listed above THROUGH our fiery trial, our burning bush.   And, may we, as Beth Moore points out in her study of Daniel--may we be like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  May we come out of our fiery trials changed and transformed.  May we meet God face to face, in an intimacy never before encountered.  And may we walk out of it not even smelling like smoke!  (Daniel 3:27).

Bloggy friend, whatever burning bush you've encountered, I pray that you would have eyes to see God in the midst of it. I pray you'll hear his voice.  I pray you'll trust him to do some mighty big things through your fire.  Stand on Deuteronomy 33:16.  Trust Him to dwell with you even there--in the midst of your burning bush.

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