I had a fascination with fire as a child.

One of our daily chores was to burn anything Mom thought would incinerate in our large burn barrel in the back yard.

Every home had one. We had a fire code back in the day that allowed trash to be burned in neighborhoods.

Though the opportunity to practice pyromania is no longer available, I’ve not lost interest in fire.

Neither have the grands.

Because of schedules and COVID, we’ve had to lump birthday celebrations together to make sure we get them all. We celebrated two more this past weekend, and for the young ones, the fun came in blowing out the candles.

Many times.

Not wanting spit all over the cakes, I used a large candle to let the littles practice. Cal, at three, was quite pleased to be able to snuff out candles in one blow. It hasn’t been that long since he couldn’t direct enough air at a candle to make the flame move. He experienced pain, however, when he stuck his finger in the melted wax–not what was supposed to happen.

Fire is a phenomenon that is both helpful and harmful. In a controlled situation, it warms, cooks, cleans the forest floor of dangerous underbrush, nourishes the soil. It’s helpful and supportive.

Until it’s not. Fire can thoroughly destroy people and property; its toxic fumes can make breathing impossible. It demolishes hopes and dreams.

It’s not something that anyone should play with.

But we do.

We’re always fascinated by that which has potential to hurt us, that which draws us down enticing but dangerous paths that can lead to our personal destruction. Much of what we have was intended for our good, but so often we’ve taken that good to an extreme which becomes harmful.

Freedom abused is bondage.

Justice abused is mistreatment.

Pleasure abused is suffering.

The rule of law abused is anarchy.

A free press abused is propaganda.

All these things were intended for good, but much of what is happening everywhere has shown that, without control and limits, these ideals are harmful and destructive.

We all want more of a good thing.

We are all hungry for something to fill and satisfy us, to make sense out of life. When we’ve taken what’s good and compromised it, nothing this side of heaven will satisfy us.

God has displayed His mercy and grace through the sacrifice of His Son. He invites anyone who longs for hope to enter into relationship with Him.

The author C.S. Lewis once said:

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Pain results when we don’t act as we should, when we take people and things for granted, when we misuse what we’ve been given. It’s often not even of our own doing.

Pain is often the only way we learn. It helps us recognize when we’ve made wrong decisions or have hurt others more than we intended.

God offers healing for our hearts, wholeness for our minds and souls. In relationship with Him, we have more freedom to be the kind of people we were intended to be.

Without needing a fire escape.

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