Roofs line the streets like dashes and dots make a morse code. Each roof a different shade of gray or brown, little chimneys on some, large chimneys on others. At the end of each street sits a curb, usually a stop sign, and often times a homeowner out for a regular stroll.
How many times do you pass by this and consider it a regular sight? What if that suddenly changed? What if the morning paper didn’t show up on your doorstep, what if the grass in your yard changed from green to yellow? What if you were buried under the the weight of the world? What if the trees that create privacy in your yard suddenly crashed down, revealing everything? What if all the walls that you built up around your heart suddenly crashed down, revealing every emotion, every scratch, every scrape, every burn, every tear, every cry, and every fear?
I sit here looking out the window, looking at the smoke marinated valley, smelling the ash-heavy air combined with the leftover scent of oatmeal cooked earlier, sipping a semi-warm mug of steeped-too-long peach tea. And I see roofs. Many roofs. All different colors, different shades of gray and brown, but past those roofs is nothing but a white wall of smoke.
Fires are filling the valley with smoke, burning up everything in their sight. Bushes, those pokey sagebrush “trees”, giant evergreens, pinecones, everything that had landscaped the mountains. Now, nothing but a sheet of dark, ash covered blackness blankets the ground. All that was green is now a bitter shade of ebony. And it smells, oh how terrible it smells. Sometimes the smell of a campfire smells comforting, inviting and warm. But when that campfire grows into a bonfire, and a bonfire into a chaotic mess of vibrant flames and spiraling embers, the smell of smoke is nothing but a hinderance.
I think a lot of people are mad at these fires, curious as to why they’re still out of control, scared about the safety of their homes, their communities, their lungs. But me? I’m aware. I’m thankful. I see nothing but white in front of me and I’m reminded of how God takes all that is sinful, all that is impure, all that is rotting our hearts and He burns it up, He sets fire to the sin, and burns it clean, leaving nothing but a white trail of cleanliness behind. These fires are nothing but a symbol of His power, of His saving grace, His power to take our sin, and take its blackness and make it white. White as snow. White as smoke.
We all struggle to be freed, freed from the strain of sin, the strain of impurity, and He’s right there to FREE us from that struggle. Taking all that weighs our hearts and carrying our burdens so we don’t have to. What a privilege it is to serve such a mighty, selfless God who TAKES from US all that we deserve, and gives us ALL that we DON’T deserve. Grace. A second chance. Life. Breathing lungs. Freedom. Forgiveness.
He’s our beloved. Our Lover, we’re His. Us, He died for. For better or worse, forever we’ll be, His love binds us to Him.
I’m filled with a burning desire, a passion to show this world that there is a life that will never die. I desire to show people HOW to reach Him, how to REACH the life that never dies. My tempted heart just wants to come alive and let Him burn inside. This dirty world, the dark roads, the black mountains, the lost people, oh how transformed they could be if they could just see the light.
If they could see that darkness can be replaced, and the darkness can be PUT OUT by the light. The ultimate light of the world.
So this is my prayer:
May I be a lantern to this dark world,
be a living example of Your love. Burn inside my heart, take away my weary soul and give me a fire to light this world with your love. Because there’s nothing here in this world that will satisfy but Your love. Let me reach the lost through you, speak through me, and take this city to a place where it will never die.
I’m in awe. In awe that He has chosen ME. He died for ME. Not because I asked Him to, not because I deserve it, but because He chose to replace the death I deserved with the chance to live a life, purposeful for Him, only to bring Him praise.
Only grace has brought me to this place I’m at. Filled with joy, excited and renewed. In awe that He’s taken that which was ebony, and made it ivory.