I drove through the little town and stared at the charred remains. Weeks earlier a terrible forest fire had ripped through the community, burning over one hundred homes. In the shadow of stunning Mt. Shasta, there now was black brush, torched ground. The dry trees and soil looked parched...no rain had fallen in months. There was a drought in effect. The recent fire's devastation didn't help any.
But I also know what it's like to hope. I know what it's like to feel the rain, to watch the drops of Grace fall down and seep into the dry cracks of my parched soul. I have tasted of the Water of Life. Only this can heal, can make alive again. Only Him. This is hope in full. This is how I can pass through the flames, can watch it all burn in front of me and still say, "Life is good." Because He is good. A little of the Life-Water and new life springs from the dead. Renewal always follows. His promise is forever true: I will make streams in the desert. The wasteland will become fertile once more. My soul can hope. The fire can refine and precede a great restoration. Can make way for God to move.
So let the flames burn...what does not belong will be consumed, and what remains will be of far greater value. Even more will be what emerges from the rubble - a hope that lasts forever and a God who promises to restore.