It’s been many a busy day since I’ve escaped to the wooded mountain by my home. This afternoon I managed find a lull in the ever-hectic school schedule to escape outside and romp to my “secret” spot in the woods. Max the faithful hound was overjoyed to accompany me as we left he sun-warmed field behind us and plunged deep into the cavern of the forest.
After Max and I traveled the well-worn elk trail up the mountainside, we arrived at “our” clearing. The flat wide space was a marked contrast from the crosshatch of vine maple, pine trees, bushes, and bracken surrounding us. I set to work on my favorite ritual of the forest: starting a fire.
In the perennially wet PNW, starting a campfire with only raw materials and a bic can be a challenge. You must undertake creating a fire only on the forest’s terms, or else bring a lot of kindling. However from practice gained from failures and the grace of weather-dried wood, I needed no such manmade contrivances to be successful.
The key to a sustaining fire in the woods is the starter material: it must catch easily, burn hot, and be enough to dry larger pieces of wood. It is not the nice big logs that burn at first. It is the crunchy decaying leaves that litter the forest floor and the spindly pine sticks that will burst into flame first. You must take the dead, dry, ugly sticks and bracken and burn them. The better wood will burn later. If you forget the important starter materials, you will never get a fire going. Believe me, I know.
Like starting a fire in the woods, I often try to live a fulfilled and passionate life without “starter material.” I focus on lighting the big important sticks and overlook everything else. I want to overcome huge obstacles, and do great things, without starting with the “sticks” set before me. You can gues how my well my fire burns.
We must take the ugly little leaves and bracken of our brokenness, and let the Holy Flame burn it away- start with the small things. Let Him burn up the fear, shame, doubt, pride- whatever is holding you back. Of course, it is easier said than done to let go of these things- but the Lord longs for you to give him your burdens, and let him do the rest.
It is not our job to start our own revival: it is our job to let God do it through us. Let Him worry about the big sticks.
You must remember daily that you are free from the bracken and brambles that tangle you so often, and that the spirit of God is strong enough to help you through those struggles, every single day.
Soon the flame will grow into a blaze and light up the darkness in this world.
P.S. Boy do I love the smell of campfire smoke.