New beginnings. Life is full of them – mine has been anyway. Sometimes the fresh start is a turning back to the Lord after I’ve been so full of myself (and sin) that I couldn’t stand it anymore. Other times, God has allowed things to come into my life that I never would have chosen for myself… painful experiences that left me desperate and crying out to Him. Although these situations left me wounded and broken, He used them to draw me closer, to teach me to lean in to His heart, and to grow something in me that could never have lived before. After these trials, it’s almost as if a fire has ripped through my life, burning up everything in its path. Although it was hard and searing, the Father knew what He was doing.
Here’s the thing about a controlled burn… it always serves a purpose. It can be used to reduce the invasion of unwanted plants and diseases. Native Americans used prescribed burns to maintain clearings and encourage the growth of plants for later harvest. Wildfires are destructive, but a carefully maintained fire – that has the power to bring forth unspeakable beauty.
Because nothing can touch me that hasn’t first passed through the hands of my Father, there have been no wildfires in my life. Every second of those flames licking up at me has been carefully tended by the One who knows me best and loves me most. Even if it wasn’t easy to see at the time, what I considered to be devastation was truly preparing the way for a new beginning.
Abraham understood better than anyone what it’s like to be called from everything that’s familiar into the unknown. “We live by faith, not by sight.” It’s a familiar and often quoted phrase… but living it? That’s another thing entirely. Will we walk forward in obedience, even as we are surrounded by soot and ash? I pray that we will, like Abraham… like Christ… have the courage to set one foot in front of the other on a charred path, knowing that He will bring beauty from the ashes. Know this today… even if you can’t trace God’s hand, you can trust His heart. You are not abandoned. Grab hold of your Father’s hand and your fresh start. He makes all things new.
“But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’” 1 Corinthians 2:9