Wildfires strike in Colorado quite often. The combination of the dry climate, windy conditions, weather occurrences or sometimes careless behavior can spark a fire that spreads quickly. When the authorities issue a burn ban, there is a reason and their instructions should be followed.
Several years ago, a fire swept through an area that holds great memories for me. In the small community of Gold Hill is a small, rustic restaurant that serves a delicious six-course meal for an affordable price.
I take out of state guests, family, and close friends to this restaurant quite often, but I have been there with my brother Billy more times than any other person. It is our special time when he visits.
As usual, on a recent visit, we headed to Gold Hill. It was the first time I had been through the canyon since the fires. Tears filled my eyes as I drove through the distorted landscape. Nothing looked the same. Homes were destroyed. Trees were blackened. It was so different from previous trips.
Fire can be beneficial to forests. That is the purpose of prescribed burns. It clears out some of the underbrush and allows for new growth.
Native plants, trees, and grasses have a natural way to cope with fires. They endure the flames and heat and then regrowth begins. Some grow new leaves or needles. Some re-sprout from their roots. And some have fire resistant seeds that sprout during the fire.
After a fire, it is important to assess the damage of trees. Then check the soil for damage. Sometimes it’s necessary to prune a tree. And after all these steps are taken, it’s important to water and fertilize the tree.
Through this process land can regain its beauty and functionality. Oh it takes time, but in the end, the process and time are worth it.
In our spiritual lives, trials sweep through like a wildfire. In Scripture, we can see that through these times, we can be refined and purified.
If you have gone through a difficult situation, you can follow the same steps for restoring a forest after a wildfire.
Assess the damage of the tree. In our lives, we can see what the damage from the trial has done to us emotionally and physically. If we know what we have to work with, we can create a plan to move ahead. Spend time with God asking for His help and guidance with this process and with the work that is needed.
Assess the damage of the soil. What or who is around you? Is it a supportive or damaging environment? Would you be able to receive the needed nourishment from this environment? If these questions are not answered in a positive way, pray that God will move to change the situation for your benefit.
Prune. Examine your life. Allow the Holy Spirit to examine your life. What needs to be pruned? Anything that is contrary to God’s Word must be stripped away. Fill the void with Scripture. Allow God’s Word to comfort you through this time.
Finally, water and fertilize. Seeking God through His Word, His Spirit, His people, and His Church will help to begin the re-growth process. Gain as much godly instruction, encouragement, and guidance as possible. With God, you will become beautiful and purposeful within His kingdom once again. And to be honest, you’ll be better than ever.
1 Peter 5:10 says, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Now that makes suffering worthwhile. God himself, restoring.
On the wall of the Gold Hill Inn are pictures of the fires. The pictures were taken outside the Inn and the fire was just up the ridge. They show just how close the fires came to this small community.
It is a reminder that we never know what might be on the other side of the mountain, but when God is on our side. It doesn’t matter. He will lead us. He will guide us. And He will restore us.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,