Fire in the Rain
When it rains, fires start up everywhere! As I drive through the east Texas country side on a rainy day there are piles of old trees, remnants of cleared land on fire. It seems that I can’t drive a single mile without seeing another fire.
This may not seem to make sense but here is what I have learned. There is no shortage of downed trees and branches and great piles of burnable material from ongoing clearing operations. East Texas is one area that still allows open burning so the easiest way to get rid of all this material is to burn it. We also experience long periods of dry weather that makes all our landscape subject to fires. We have experienced widespread and destructive fires over the years. So, when it starts to rain, it is a signal for property owners to go out, dump a little fuel on the pile and light it on fire.
I have also found that God often works in ways that don’t seem at first to make sense. Remember when Jesus started his ministry with a huge rally in Capernaum. At the synagogue and then in Peter’s mother-in-law’s home, miracles were performed and the people heard the word of God (Mark 1:29-38). Yet, early the next morning as people were looking for him because they wanted more, Jesus prayed and then followed the Father’s direction and left a thriving ministry.
There are profound lessons for us in this short episode from Jesus’ life.
- There is a danger in looking at things from a human perspective. We tend to be far too influenced by worldly thinking. We see great things happening – even in Jesus’ name and for his glory – and assume they should keep happening in the same way and place. Without consulting the Father, we use every ounce of effort to keep the rally going!
- Things that make sense to us may make no sense to the work of the Kingdom of God. Just like fires burning in the rain, God often takes us in directions that seem to be, at best, contradictory and, at worst, foolish. But God operates in an eternal realm with an eternal perspective. He sees what we cannot and knows what is a mystery to us.
- We can never thrive as followers of Jesus unless we get away and spend uninterrupted time with the Father. This time with God must find us absolutely open to his leadership, no matter how he leads! If we go with our minds made up, we probably won’t hear God. If we go asking him to bless our plans, we probably won’t hear him. Over the years, I’ve had lots of good ideas but I learned to pray in this way: “I will not do this, God, unless you make it absolutely clear and unmistakable that it is the way for me to go and what I am to do.” Nearly all the time, he pats me on the head and rewards my initiative, then says: No!
How will this change the way you face life? Will you make decisions differently? Are you following what Jesus wants you to do and going where Jesus wants you to go?
Every follower of Jesus needs to decide that they are going to give up the mantle of earthly leadership and embrace his leadership! While the world admires a great leader, there is no greater leader than a tenacious follower of Jesus.
Jim Wolstenholm is an unapologetic follower of Jesus. “I help people follow Jesus so they can live the abundant life and change their world. And I love tenacious followers of Jesus!” I blog at jimthefollower.com and medium.com. I am also a writer at PublishousNow.com and the The Ascent (Medium.com).