Sunday, December 9, 2012

Campfires and Candles

I love campfires. I love starting them with a little aid from some petroleum products, striking the match and then the big WHOOSH that forces the air past you.  The power, the strength, the heat.  I love sitting there with the fire and a poker and tooling around in the coals.  I love stoking the fire and getting it hotter and hotter and hotter.  And then feeding it more fuel to keep the flames burning.  The worst part of a campfire is extinguishing it.  If we didn't need sleep, I would be perfectly content sitting by a fire enjoying it for a week or longer.  Sitting there, staring into the flames. Searching for understanding in front of the mesmerizing dance of the fire. But when we extinguish it, we lose the heat, the light, the relaxation that comes from a campfire.

In today's Christianity, it is common to use fire as a metaphor for being spiritually alive.  As if our faith is a raging fire consuming us and igniting those around us.  I have experienced this. And I believe it is a great metaphor.  It may be over played, but my love of fires fuels my love of this comparison.

But the thing with fires is that eventually, no matter how hot and how fierce they are, eventually they do go out if they are not fed.  This is where I'm at today.  I feel as if my faith is a small flicker of a flame and I am searching desperately for some fuel to reignite it.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not turning away or recanting my faith.  Not even close.  But my flames, which once blazed bright as day, are now but a flicker. I feel that life has overwhelmed me and have smothered my fire.  I feel that my life circumstances which require me to work as much as i have to takes me from the fuel.  Takes me from things like working with charities, studying and deepening my knowledge and faith, but most importantly taking valuable and needed time away from relationships that need nothing but time together, with family, with friends, with God.

So how do we reconcile this? How do we keep life from taking the bucket of water and extinguishing our flame? How do we keep our busyness from smothering our hearts? How do we keep life from stripping from us that which we hold most dear?

Maybe it's just as simple as remembering that there is a time for everything. A time of happiness, a time of sorrow.  A time of being empty, a time if being full. A time of raging fires, and a time for flickering candles.

Keep and hold dear that God will never forsake us.  He will never leave us. If we give him the authority in our lives, he will guide us. This is the hope that we have to hold onto in order to reignite our faith.

May God's love burn bright as the sun within all of us.