Tonight during informal prayer someone shared with the group a lesson that he learned from the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens. Quite amazingly, the pine cones of that area are so tightly knit, so wound, wrapped and sealed with resin that only fire could open them and allow the seeds to grow.
These pine cones are of such nature that only the disaster of fire could cause them to begin to grow; only great heat could open them to new life and beauty.
So from the ashes of that great disaster, molten fire and eruption...a new forest has sprung: the smell of verdant pines, sage-brush flowers and fireweed, the chatter of squirrels and call of songbirds...new growth wrapping old destruction -- these seeds of life only released through intense heat...apparent, total devastation.
The point that this person made for our prayer was that God knows what He is about, and knows what it takes to release the new life He intends. Even when there is great fire in our current life, the lesson is not destruction, but renewal: there are seeds being opened by present trial...whereby God will bless us throughout future generations!
Listen to how one article describes the current beauty of this new volcanic forest, grown from the ashes of great fire:
Nurtured by the ash-enriched soil, aspen saplings and small lodgepole pines are slowly but steadily replacing the mature stands of lodgepole pine consumed by the flames. Surrounding meadows are dappled with bright blue splashes of lupine and flax, contrasting with purplish pink fireweed. Woodpeckers feast on the insect-riddled remains of the older stands, while mountain bluebirds dart among the wildflowers...
Examine the recovering forest. See how new growth overruns charred tree trunks. Run your hands over a boulder literally baked by a wall of flames from the Wolf Lake fire. Sit on one of the trail's benches and test your senses. Close your eyes and listen to chirping songbirds, catch the rustle of scurrying ground squirrels and the flutter of aspen leaves. Breathe in the pungent aroma of sage-brush and the rich fragrance of pine. Understand that when fires race across meadows and through forests, the flames don't signal an end but...regeneration.
As one forest sign says: "Lightning has been starting fires for thousands of years, yet forests have not vanished."
It seems somewhere I hear a Voice say:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
Since you are precious in My sight, You are honored, and I have loved you...fear not, for I am with you -- you who are called by My name, whom I have created for My glory!