The fire destroyed everything: houses, barns, fields, and forest.
Gone. Dead. Nothingness.
There is nothing left to live for; my life is destroyed.
Done. Empty. Nothingness.
But God sent rains and sunshine into the nothingness left by the fire;
the dying returned their nutrients to the ground in the ashes,
and, out of the destruction, new growth appears.
My strength is gone, my resources, my foundations.
But, by God’s grace, I still have a living hope.
“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23, NIV
Without tall trees to dominate the sunlight resources,
Annuals appear, then weeds, grasses, cat tails; pioneer plants settle the landscape.
Water pools, and swampy bogs begin to fill with bushes, birch, small pine, and tamarisk trees.
The parts of yourself that were broken and tied up in this sin-filled world have been thrown away.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature… You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these… Take off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:5-10, NIV
However, you are not left empty, for the Holy Spirit pours you full to overflowing with God’s love.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:15-19, NIV
The landscape continues its growth, and soon the edges of the forest encroach on the wetlands, and they mesh together—a wet forest appears. And as transformation continues, the forest dries out and once again reaches it branches to the heavens.
Things may be taken from us. Other times, we have to burn down those things that keep us from a close relationship with God. It is only in acknowledging our emptiness that we can be filled.
In His grace, God has a salvation plan for us. Our debts have been paid, and transformation and regeneration happen as the seeds that He has planted in our hearts grow and flourish.
by Kathleen Evenhouse, September 22, 2022
after hiking the bog loop on the Veterans Hiking Trail near Pequot Lakes, MN