Trusting Wildfire

“How do I know I can trust you?”
“You can’t. That’s why it’s called trust.”
-Battlestar Galactica

People are funny. We think placing our trust in an Unquestioningly Good God is some sort of impressive act of deep faith worthy of blessing and reward. But, that isn’t faith, and it certainly isn’t trust.

Faith is the evidence of things unseen. Trust is a risk.

Often, many people of faith choose to see only the good or seemingly just things God is reported to have done, because then trusting in Him, even in the idea that there is a Him, then seems…rational and possibly even sane. But the gentle rain sometimes becomes a raging flood, and the spark of a warm fire can catch a dry blade of grass and become an uncontrollable force in an instant. Ignoring this power, this violent streak, the terrible mysterious secrecy and foggy explanations, and the occasional temper tantrums of God make Him safer to trust, and so we often do. We need water, and we need warmth. The provision and comfort they give make us feel safe.

But God is not safe. Ask any Hebrew. To believe He is requires an arrogant sort of tunnel vision that ignores huge aspects of the God revealed in the unpredictable and often violent movements of the earth and sky, not to mention in the pages of the Bible. The God who so often works through people, whose kindness and cruelty often send us to our knees with equal force, is just not Always Good. The God in the pages of the Bible is a fire, a dangerous uncontrollable and fierce energy that burns deeper the closer one gets to the flames. Who trusts in the good intentions of wildfires but crazy people? Who has faith enough to let Him burn and rage His way through their house?

“They say a good love is one that sits you down, gives you a drink of water, and pats you on top of the head. But I say a good love is one that casts you into the wind, sets you ablaze, makes you burn through the skies and ignite the night like a phoenix; the kind that cuts you loose like a wildfire and you can't stop running simply because you keep on burning everything that you touch! I say that's a good love; one that burns and flies, and you run with it!” -C. JoyBell C.

“They say a good love is one that sits you down, gives you a drink of water, and pats you on top of the head. But I say a good love is one that casts you into the wind, sets you ablaze, makes you burn through the skies and ignite the night like a phoenix; the kind that cuts you loose like a wildfire and you can’t stop running simply because you keep on burning everything that you touch! I say that’s a good love; one that burns and flies, and you run with it!” -C. JoyBell C.

God is a wild God, a good and terrible God, just as prone to terrible acts of violence as He is to extraordinary gestures of both kindness and love, often for no other discernible reason than so we won’t ignore Him. His love is passionate, just like the love of we humans, who are created in His image according to published reports, only much more so. God, it seems, is far more human than we are, and that makes trusting Him all the more terrifying,  because if one believes He is the power and energy that controls the universe, then one must admit He has proven throughout the pages of the bible and history that placing one’s trust in Him is a dangerous endeavor, and is as likely to ruin as it is to strengthen a person.

“She leaned forward and caught at his hand, pressing it between her own. The touch was like white fire through his veins. He could not feel her skin only the cloth of her gloves, and yet it did not matter. You kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire. He had wondered once why love was always phrased in terms of burning. The conflagration in his own veins, now, gave the answer.” -Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Princess

“She leaned forward and caught at his hand, pressing it between her own. The touch was like white fire through his veins. He could not feel her skin only the cloth of her gloves, and yet it did not matter. You kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire. He had wondered once why love was always phrased in terms of burning. The conflagration in his own veins, now, gave the answer.” -Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Princess

It isn’t easy to walk willingly into furnaces, and battling a wildfire is exhausting, especially if one is alone. I suppose this is why we need one another. We need to be encouraged: to give and be given courage, and we need help trying to endure the effects of the flames.

Flames subside eventually and wildfires diminish and smolder. Sometimes, the Fourth Man is revealed, and you find yourself and those who braved the flames with you broken but still somehow standing. Other times, you’re broken and left on blackened charred ground alone, and all you want is for the pain you’ve endured to have some purpose.

Maybe it does, I don’t know.

But, I do know this: in time, if you can bring yourself to open your eyes and look carefully, you’ll see new tender plants thriving on the cleansed and broken ground where a forest once grew. Life changes, often because of horrible events, but it goes on, and there is both comfort and an ache in that fact, but for their sake, we must get up and keep going. Those tender young plants need help to grow. So, stand up, and if you need to, take someone’s hand, and do what good you can. Each of us can be living water or warmth, offering the compassion and grace to those who are trying to walk among the ruins of the acts of both God and His dangerous instruments.

"What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again." -Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.” -Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

This entry was posted in courage, Empathy, Encouragement, faith, fire, God, Grace, Growth, hope, loneliness, love, pain, Spiritual Growth, Spirituality, Transition and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Trusting Wildfire

  1. And words well written burn into our minds and brand our hearts with meaning. I couldn’t agree more.

  2. Darci says:

    Love your writing. I have some questions. I don’t want to pry, but we have left Michigan and some terrible things have happened. -Darci

  3. CKoepp says:

    Tangential to your point, there are some ecosystems that depend on fire to keep them going.

    More to the point, too often these days, preachers focus only on the warm, fuzzy aspects of God. Judgment, wrath … nah, never that. The unbalanced picture does the hearer a major disservice. They’re not ready when disaster strikes.

  4. I found this both very interesting and very well written. I certainly believe in the values you describe in your last sentence, and sometimes that is all I know. Powerful and reflective writing.

  5. Jeff says:

    Beautifully written! Reminds me of a song by my favorite band, Daniel Amos. In their song, “Darn Floor, Big Bite,” there is a line that says, “You are beautiful, a terrible, terrible sight.”

  6. Tony Roberts says:

    Tremendous reflection. We trust God’s ultimate goodness in spite of all evidence to the contrary. As Job put it, “Though he slay me, yet I will trust him.”

  7. Wonderful message.
    I am reminded of the description of Aslan in the Narnia books – “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

  8. I keep coming back here – back to this spot. It speaks so deeply to my heart. Knowing that at least once in my life the silent groaning of my soul was enough to wake someone in another room. I treasure our friendship more each day.

You look like you want to say something. Go right ahead.