Drought produces very little except … a fantastic supply of tinder.
Initially, the onset of drought is slow and almost imperceptible. In humans, studies have shown that a person often mistakes signs of dehydration for hunger which even further confuses matters. As the dryness advances though, it is difficult to deny the overpowering thirst that inevitably comes when cut off from the source of life giving water.
As one might expect, I have gathered the following quote from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (via wikipedia) “Controlled or prescribed burning, also known as hazard reduction burning or swailing is a technique sometimes used in forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters. Hazard reduction or controlled burning is conducted during the cooler months to reduce fuel buildup and decrease the likelihood of serious hotter fires. Controlled burning stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, thus renewing the forest.”
My own spiritual dehydration so to speak was no different. Idleness grew into discontentment; discontentment to doubt; and doubt to despair. Actively participating in the stagnation of God’s people has stacked a good supply of dry tinder for quick ignition.
For you shall be like an oak whose leaf withers, and like a garden without water. And the strong shall become tinder, and his work a spark, and both of them shall burn together, with none to quench them. (Isaiah 1:30,31)
Fortunately we have a Father in heaven Who has a controlled burn plan. Despite our apparent failure in providing proper stewardship for His creation, He is faithful to consume us with His cleansing fire. All that is required now is a spark to the tinder.
So we have established the fact that conditions are perfect for fire. We are no longer bearing fruit, the wood is dry, and the leaves are turning brown. (Intermission – this is where I stopped writing in 2012)
It seems ridiculous that I am picking this up nearly 2 full years later … and it is still applicable. I don’t remember exactly what I was thinking back then. I know that I was fed up with my own stagnation. I was disillusioned by what I was seeing in the world and in the church. An overwhelming feeling of internal pressure was building within me and I just knew that I was about to lift a relief valve. (The fire was already burning)
Any who followed this blog or on Facebook may have noticed that I stay away from controversial topics. This is not because I don’t have strong opinions. Amazingly, even the few friends I have don’t really know where I stand on many issues. How could that be if these are really strongly held opinions?
Let me ‘splain. When I write procedures or directions I often like to “bullet” them out for clarity so let’s just do that with a passage of scripture, Romans 12:9-21. I think this is well within the purpose and context of this passage.
- Let love be genuine.
- Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
- Love one another with brotherly affection.
- Outdo one another in showing honor.
- Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
- Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
- Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
- Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
- Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
- Live in harmony with one another.
- Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.
- Never be wise in your own sight.
- Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
- If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Summary: Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I am not the first to load my weapon with these bullets. Although it is sometimes useful to identify points in this manner it can also be rather dangerous. When reading a list I believe that we often infer the conjunction of our choice. Is it and or is it or? Let me make this clear, these are not meant to be bullets to be loaded as we see fit, one at a time, to pick of the target of our choice. If this was a multiple choice question, the answer would be all of the above. It is and not or!
So what does that have to do with me keeping my mouth shut even though I supposedly have strong opinions? “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” I have used this to justify my idleness and compromise. Ironically (I sure hope I am using that correctly), it is the use of the “Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” bullet to justify actions, attitudes, and rants that are, in my opinion, not scripturally justifiable that had me ready to lose it.
So how do we find this balance? When and how do I speak truth and still live peaceably with all? Well, I don’t know, but I am going to give it a shot over the next few weeks. Fortunately, I have not done very good at developing my SEO so I will hopefully only offend a few people. (which could be everyone I know)