Late morning we were all buckled up and ready for my Mother’s Day adventure. Earlier in the week I told Phillip I didn’t really want presents. I just wanted a day away in the mountains with him and the kids. Time away precious to me.
As we drove up the foothills of Pikes Peak, I watched rolling rivers wind around the landscape while birds dotted the sky as they soared into the clouds. The trees put on a majestic dance bending their long arms from east to west and north to south as wind gusts captured them. A still, awkward, fawn stood cautiously by its mother’s side as we passed. Later a flock of antelope grazed in a near by pasture. Glorious and awe-inspiring; the beauty of nature’s symphony captured my heart and reminded me of the depth of God’s creative handiwork. Yes, nature was alive in the Rockies.
Suddenly, as we crested a mountain road bend, my eyes met the cold, harsh devastation that occurred back in 2002 when they Hayman fired ripped through Colorado’s front range. Instead of the wonderous dance of nature I enjoyed just moments before, my eyes were filled with a barren landscape dotted with charred, charcoal black, dead trees. Silence came over our car and an almost instant grief filled our hearts. Finally Faith said, “Everything is dead. It’s gone. It’s so sad.”
After Faith spoke, I found myself searching for any sign of vibrant life. While there were some areas of grass, thousands of tall, fire scorched tree trunks stood as a reminder of a once massive forest.
As I continued to search, I finally noticed small patches of pine trees that were obviously horribly burned yet, after ten years, they found a way to regrow and thrive in essentially barren land. Mile after mile horribly burnt trees stood covered with fresh, slender pine needles while others just a few feet away, were stark, barren and dead. I don’t know why some trees died and others found new life. I can’t help but wonder though if the trees that did survive, had deep roots to find the water and nutrients they needed to not only survive – but thrive.
As I remember those trees now, there was a special kind beauty that those with new growth projected. The fresh vibrant greens that encompassed the pitch burnt black and browns popped giving a vibrant and fresh feel. Life, in the midst of death; a truly marvelous thing to behold.
I love how God uses nature to reflect wonderful truth’s of life.
Troubles in life come. Sometimes they spark quickly and rush through our lives devouring and consuming everything around us. I know, the events of 2011, blew through our family with the rage and power of a devastating forest fire. There have been days when I have struggled personally with our new reality that I have felt very much like those tall pine trees that were once so grand and majestic but are now just shadows of once before.
As time as gone on though, I have realized while I am different — so different from before — the essence of me has remained. My core values, my trust in the Lord, my desire to love family well, and my hope for the future remain intact. The outside Nancy is different – the scars are evident for all to see. Yet, as I have pushed through the difficult times, I have found my roots in the Lord have brought me the living water and spiritual nutrients (grace, mercy, strength, hope and peace) that I needed to grow.
One of my favorite bible verses is Isaiah 43:2
…When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
My life is living evidence of Isaiah 43:2. I have walked through the fire – and probably have more still to walk through. I am weary, scarred and different, but because of the Lord I have not been consumed.
The fires of life hurt. The living waters of Jesus refresh and renew. When the fires come — and this side of Heaven they DO — let your roots push down deep into the Lord’s promises, love and care. He will protect you, guide you and strengthen you just as he has me. When the fires die down, you may be different but there will be new growth, new vibrancy and a new beauty that shines him more and more!
Let us never forget…
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 & 16-18