I had the opportunity to be in the Boy Scouts throughout my childhood and teenage years and through it all I achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. In my day, being in the Boy Scouts, you camped out a lot. Not the way some do with RV’s, folding tables, and lanterns, but with tents, campfires, and flashlights. Sometimes it was in designated campsites, other times it was weekend or week long hiking trips. We’d go on 5-20 mile hikes; everything we had for the trip was carried in our backpacks. You could always tell where people have been by where the campfires were setup.
Something about a campfire always brings people together. Controlled fire was your friend. It provided warmth, heat to cook with, and light during a dark night. To control the fire, you’d find an open area, clear the ground around it, dig a shallow pit and line it with big rocks. If you were fortunate, you’d find one already established. Then the search to gather firewood began. Depending on how long you wanted the fire to burn, would determine the type and size of the logs you’d look for. But to start the fire, you need kindling; small twigs, leaves and bark; things that would ignite quickly and carry the flame long enough for the bigger sticks to ignite which would in turn carry the flame for the thick logs. The kindling would have burned up and became ash by know leaving no trace, yet the fire roars on. The purpose for the kindling was to start the fire so that it could spread to the other pieces, not to provide the heat, the light or the warmth. It’s not until the sticks and logs catch the flame that you have enough to produce sufficient heat or light.
Many times in life, we encounter this same situation. Along the path of life we have a dream to do something. It’s something that we can believe in, something that is a stretch for us at the time; much like kindling. We step out and commit time, energy, and resources towards the dream and it may grow into what we saw when we ventured out. Or it may lead to something else; maybe in the same direction or a completely new direction.
At times where our path seems to change, this can be very uncomfortable. We believed we were called to do one thing and now we are heading down what seems to be a different path and we wonder why we wasted our time, energy and resources. But God sees that as the kindling that put us on the path to begin with. He never intended it to be the final destination, just the kindling that started the fire, allowing the big sticks to ignite and carry the flame so that many more can enjoy the fire. He doesn’t always do the things we think He will do. Nor does He do them the way we think He should. We simply have to believe that He is guiding us to the destination he has for us on the journey of life that will produce a flame that will provide the warmth and light to change the world.
Proverbs 3:5-10 says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
Jeremiah 29:11 tell us “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”