Our family is no stranger to fires. A few years ago we drove straight through a series of 17 fires heading to Glacier National Park. Last year, a relative in Arizona was evacuated from her home because of a threatening fire, approaching out of the Coconino National Park, that destroyed more than 14,000 acres. Texas has certainly seen its share of fires this year – more than 21,000. This spring, as my daughter and I were driving across the state, we saw numerous wildlife crossing the smoke-filled highway, fleeing the burning land. And given all the threatening fires surrounding us this past summer, my thought has turned to the Bible, particularly the Psalms, to get a clearer understanding of divine protection and renewal.
The aftermath of any fire can be devastating. For those who need to rebuild their homes and their lives, the greatest compassion and love can be extended through our prayers. Rebuilding can seem long and tumultuous – but it doesn’t have to be. Lifting our thoughts to God and His care for all, we can witness not only to this care but also to His ability to renew. Out of the ashes of danger, fear, and anxiety, we can expect, demand, that safety, trust, and hope rise up in thought and experience.
The psalms are spiritually and physically strengthening, as we fight against these fires and their aftermath. Psalm 27 asks, “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” We can ask ourselves that same question. Will we allow fear to overtake our friends’ and relatives’ lives, or will we stand with them in prayer as they take, step by step, the path that leads to renewal and refreshment? This psalm teaches us that whatever rises up against us will fall, and that when we or those around us are in trouble, God will protect us.
The 23rd Psalm is particularly helpful as we rebuild our lives. It states simply, “He [God] restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the path of righteousness....” We can pray for those in danger, in need, in distress, affirming that God is constantly restoring everyone’s peace, identity, and joy. We can compassionately and gently lead our own thought down the path that leads to justice, right ways and methods, safety and security. We can understand each individual to be under God’s loving care. This will help everyone rebuild on a solid, fearless foundation.
Psalm 91 tells us clearly: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” This is where we all dwell – under God’s almighty shadow – where He tenderly embraces us and all. This psalm teaches us that God is our refuge. He is our true and only fortress, and He will deliver us, cover us, and protect us from the terror by night and the destruction at noon. And it promises, “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. vii). Rebuilding and renewal are the results of thoughts that lead spiritually upward, and this upward trend, leaning on God, good, brings blessings to all. We can pray for everyone involved in the wildfires – that they are under God’s tender care, hearing His voice, heeding His directing, so that their protection and rebuilding will be sweet, full, and complete.
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