Not long ago, I came across a local news story announcing preparations to intentionally set a forest fire. The nerd in me immediately perked up to learn more about this curious endeavor. Why would someone intentionally start a forest fire? I quickly cracked open my laptop and began foraging for answers. What I discovered was life-changing.
According to the National Park Service, the technical name for this intentional torching is said to be a “prescribed burn.” Normally, when we think of forest fires, we tend to only think of the death and destruction left in their wake. Prescribed fires, on the other hand, pose a reduced risk because they are monitored and controlled throughout the entire process. Every phase of the fire is managed by fire authorities to ensure it never burns beyond the scope of its prescribed purpose. In other words, there are boundaries for the burn.
Malachi 3:1-2, AMP states:
“”Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will prepare and clear the way before Me. And the LORD [the Messiah], whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap [which removes impurities and uncleanness].”
Many times, the crucible of life can turn up the heat through our circumstances and challenges. God does allow certain things to happen in our lives that can be very painful. At times, the heat can be overwhelming as we pass through the flames of pain and disappointment. While going through these difficult times, we must never forget that God is the Almighty Refiner who faithfully monitors the flames of our circumstances to ensure they never consume us. God has a purpose for everything that afflicts us, even if we never discover or understand that purpose. One of my favorite passages
Romans 8:28, AMP states:
“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
When God initiates a prescribed burn in our lives, it is symbolic that he is preparing us for increase and favor. I know it does not feel like it at times. Remember this…If we never experience the pain of the test, we will never experience the power of the testimony. YOU WILL SURVIVE THIS!!!
There are three characteristics of God’s refining process that prepare us for our destiny. God’s process is always planned, purifying, and productive.
The Process is Planned
Every prescribed burn has a purpose or a prescription before it is ignited. Conditions must be right and the experts must be in place to ensure a safe and successful burn. Many factors are taken into account such as weather and public safety. Likewise, God’s refining process in our lives is also planned. God is intentional. He never begins anything in us without first having a plan to manage it and finish it (Philippians 1:6). God will not allow you to be consumed.
Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV states:
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
The Process is Purifying
One of the benefits of a prescribed fire is to burn off dead leaves and tree limbs that have fallen onto the forest floor in previous seasons. These dead things can ignite under the right conditions contributing to even more destructive wildfires. Death can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. Not everything that is good to us is good for us. Some things are detrimental to our destiny, and God’s refining process removes the debris that can cause bigger issues for us down the road. A prescribed burn can change the landscape of our lives so that we may gain a fresh, new perspective about who God has called us to be.
The Process is Productive
One of the most intriguing lessons I learned about prescribed burns is not the fire itself, but how some trees have adapted to the fire. There are some tree seeds that are buried in the soil of the forest floor that can only germinate when activated by fire. That’s right!!! Fire is actually the catalyst that initiates reproduction. One such species of tree is called the Lodgepole Pine. The seeds of these trees will lie dormant in the soil until activated by a fire. The heat does not destroy the seeds, rather it helps them germinate. In essence, these seeds were built for the fire. Although it may not feel like it at times, we too were built to withstand the fires of life. The fiery trials that we endure were not designed to consume us, but they were designed to activate what is already lying dormant inside of us (1 Peter 4:12-13).
In the furnace of tribulation, we find comfort in knowing that God has a plan to always purify and purge us making us more fruitful. He promised to never leave us to endure the heat alone (Isaiah 43:2). Like a refiner, God manages and controls the burn as we trust in him. Embrace the flames, because in the midst of the fire is where the seeds of greatness are activated.
I am Brian Evans, and as always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.
Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living