We are back in the months of New Mexico and Arizona's fire season.
It is the time of year when, due to the dryness, heat (late spring/early summer is our hottest time here), low humidity, and high winds, wildfires are easily started, quick to get out of control, and hard to extinguish.
A few days ago when I glanced outside, this is the sight that greeted my eyes.
It's been this way for days now. Dense smoke blows in mid morning from the Wallow fire in Arizona. It usually remains all day, getting thicker as the day wears on. Generally it blows out during the night when the winds reverse.
I grabbed the camera to take photos. Although we usually do have about two months a year when the smell of wildfire smoke is lightly tainting the air, we've only had smoke this thick maybe 3 times in our 12 years living in New Mexico.
I took these pictures late last week. Since then the fire has made progress and the smoke has gotten thicker. Today at 4 PM it was as dark as it usually is at 8:30 PM. I stepped outside for a moment to discover ash raining down all around me.
As I sauntered around the property taking pictures, a thought struck me.
These days it has become a popular concept in the Christian world to be "on fire for God". We perhaps attend a conference, or read a book, and we are all excited. We think we are on fire.
Then we go home, or set the book down for a while, and our excitement wanes. Our old habits demonstrate themselves again. We slip back into comfortable mediocre Christianity. And the world goes on unchanged and unaware of us Christians.
Fire season here in New Mexico and Arizona has taught me one thing very definitely: If we are truly on fire for God, the whole world around will know. They won't be able to help it.
Fire season ends when monsoon rains start mid summer. Temperatures come down, humidity goes up, winds stop, and the earth is watered, bringing fire danger back down. Although we don't like fire season very much around here, it is useful. When the fire goes through, it takes away the underbrush, and can enrich the soil. When monsoon season comes and rain waters the earth, new life springs up, unencumbered by the underbrush of yesteryear. For instance, the banner photo of our website was taken where a fire went through several years ago.
Hebrews says that "...our God is a consuming fire." When He comes in, and lights the dead underbrush of our lives aflame with Himself, a dramatic change takes place. Our flesh often doesn't like the results during the process; we see our selfish treasures burning up. But then after the rain of His Spirit comes down, new life springs up. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17.
What we so desperately need is to get on our knees and beg for God to come and set us on fire and consume us with Himself. "Make (us) Thy fuel, flame of God." - Amy Charmichael
When He does, the whole world will know.
P.S. No, the Nebblett's property (a.k.a. Sweetwater) is not currently in imminent danger of burning up. But please keep in your prayers the 2000+ people who have and are having to evacuate their homes for the safety of their lives, and the 2,500 (and counting) firefighters currently fighting the terrible Wallow fire. As of this morning, it had burned about 365 sq. miles, and under current conditions it will take nothing short of a miracle of grace to put it out.