If you have any experience at all with starting a fire, you know that dry wood is essential. Survivor Man knows this, and so does Pyro-Woman. Yes, burning piles of wood is one of my favorite pastimes. There’s nothing like clearing out a section of woods by gathering up the fallen branches, cutting up the dead trees, and then torching the pile you’ve created! It’s got to be one of God’s original forms of therapy. Over the years I have burned many piles of wood. As I continually enlarge our yard and decrease our woods, I have lost count of the number of piles I have stacked and burned. And, while dry wood is necessary for the beginning of a fire, I have discovered that anything will burn if the fire is hot enough!
I first found this out years ago as I was burning a pile and stacking newly cut green branches on top. My husband told me the pile would never burn. It was a good thing he said this because it immediately became a challenge…and one I was happy to accept! So, as I burned the dry wood, I continually worked in the green wood. Too much green and the fire would slow down, but just a steady amount of green and the fire would consume whatever it was fed. I did this until the entire pile burned. That’s when I learned the natural law: anything will burn if the fire is hot enough. Those words, for whatever reason, stuck in my head.
Recently, I found myself in the woods in need of a therapy session so I began gathering sticks and fallen branches and started a pile. Then, I did a little under brushing and placed green branches on the pile. As I did this, those words from years ago crossed my mind, “Anything will burn if the fire is hot enough.” My first thought was in regard to the pile I was creating. I knew I could get the whole pile to burn because I had some dead wood on the bottom. But then it hit me. There was a life lesson here, too. Anything will burn if the fire is hot enough. Hadn’t I had some fires in my own life? Hadn’t I seen this truth exhibited in more than just stacks of wood? And so I stopped and looked inwardly at my own dry wood and at my own green wood.
In the dry wood pile I found the sticks of self-sufficiency, ambition, pride, selfishness, and attention. In the green wood pile I found the sticks of faith, perseverance, self-control, patience, and discernment. The dry wood needed to burn; the green wood did not. But, anything will burn if the fire is hot enough. Not surprisingly, God had once again taught me a lesson from the woods. I had not tended to my pile of dry sticks and when Satan shot a spark my way, they began to burn. Unfortunately, so too did my green wood. I was shocked to see the flames and couldn’t understand how the green wood of Christian values could burn. But, now I knew; now I understood. Anything will burn if the fire is hot enough.
How wrong it is for us to think we keep our flammable traits separate from our “fire-resistant” traits. While some things ignite easier than others and some things we hope will be consumed by fire, we are ignorant at best and dishonest at worst to think our green sticks won’t burn. If the fire is burning strongly enough and the green sticks are added slowly enough and positioned rightly enough, anything will burn if the fire is hot enough. Fortunately, fire is an element God controls and when He wields the flame the outcome is always for our good. God’s fire burns to purify, not pacify; to define, not destroy; and to conform, not condemn. So, take an inventory of your wood; identify the dry sticks and the green sticks. Then, humbly ask the LORD to burn only that which needs to go and to spare all of that which needs to grow. And, when you see a fire burning, whether in the woods or in a life, remember this lesson from the woods…anything will burn if the fire is hot enough.