Flickering Flames of Evil
I reach out and snatch one. She is young, maybe twenty-two, and seems unaware of the fire inches away.
“Can’t you see it?” I cry.
“See what? Let me go.” Yanking her arm away, she leaps forward into the consuming fire. I sob dejectedly. For each one saved, there are many who walk willingly into the flames.
I feel like giving up, but I know I must try again.
“Go no further. You’ll be destroyed,” I plead with the elderly gentleman as I snatch his arm.
“What does it matter? No one cares about me.”
“Jesus loves you.” I keep my hand on his arm.
He peers at me through eyes that have seen too many tragedies and heartbreaks. “My own children never visit me anymore. Why would Jesus care?”
“Jesus loves you, more than anyone can. He wants none to perish, but to share in everlasting life with Him.”
The man gazes at the inviting fire, tears in his eyes. “He still loves me? How do I get rescued?”
“Call upon His name,” I reply with authority.
The man falls to his knees, calling “Jesus.” The flames move on, looking for a new victim. I breathe a prayer of thanks to God, for one more has been saved.
When I signed on as a Firefighter for Christ ten years ago, I didn’t understand what it meant. I knew only that I must try to save souls from the hungry flames. They tempt and taunt, gloating each time they win. Over the years, I’ve paced here for so long that I’ve worn a rut into the ground. I grieve, just as God does, for each one lost.
“Wait. Listen to me, please,” I shout to the man dressed in expensive clothes, dangling the keys to his outrageously priced car. “You’re heading to hell and an eternity separated from Christ.”
“So? I have everything I need – clothes, cars, and several houses. Who cares about tomorrow? Besides,” he leans close to me, “hell only exists in your imagination.” With that, he gleefully jumps into the lake of fire.
The next dozen people meet the same fate, ignoring my warning and words of Jesus and His salvation.
I bow my head, tears falling to the ground. “Why, Lord? Why can’t more be saved? I’m not sure if I can continue.”
His words speak to my heart: “My child, each one has free will to decide his own future. You can only continue with my strength. Pray and look to me.”
I feel His touch upon me as my strength is renewed. Bounding in the path of an obviously very ill woman, I implore, “Stay away from the fire; turn around and call on Jesus.”
The flames flicker brightly, promising her health and happiness.
She looks at me. “Once I believed, but now I’m dying from cancer. My husband and teenage children will have to go on without me. How can this be a God of love? I’ve given up on Him.”
“But God has a plan for each one. Your faith and trust in Christ, especially now, could be the catalyst that saves your family and allows every one of you to share in Christ’s glory for all eternity.”
The flames seem to say “he’s a liar.” The woman almost steps into the fire, but pauses. “He will still forgive me?” The flames roar louder and taunt her with youthful vigor.
“He loves you and will rejoice when you call on Him.”
“Jesus,” she calls. “Will you forgive me? Will you allow me to tell my family of Your love?” As her answer comes, she smiles through tears. “Yes, I do believe in His goodness and mercy. I am going now to tell my family. They must embrace His love and not grieve.” She retreats in a shuffling gait as she calls to her family, “You must listen to me.”
I am encouraged in my job. Years ago, I would have scoffed at being a Firefighter for Christ, working at the very gates of hell. Now, the sweetness of each victory makes my heart soar like an eagle. Praise and glory are given to my Lord, rising from my humbled lips to His worthy ears. I wouldn’t trade this job for any career.
Reference: Jude 22 – Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them.
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