Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fire-fighter (10/05/06)
TITLE: Thirsting for the Flame
By Ann Grover
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A few settle in my hair.
I can feel their feather light movement.
All at once, I realize they are not innocent midges at all, but flying cinders. Tiny bits of molten ash that I’ve allowed to alight. Tendrils of smoke coil and spiral around my head, and the stench of scorching hair assaults my nostrils. Piercing pain sears my scalp. I dig at my hair, pulling away clumps of singed curls. In dismay and disappointment, I look at the handful of blackened tresses, evidence of my disobedience.
I have forgotten I am to be a fire fighter, taking up the Shield of Faith intended to deflect the fiery darts of the enemy. I have ignored the warning signs of temptation and engaged in sin.
Yet, when God chooses to draw me closer to Himself and His refining fire, I draw away from the flame of His heart, not willing to have my will burnt away by His brilliance. To have my intents and motives unveiled by His radiance is too much for me to bear, and I crouch in fearful nakedness, fighting the fire of His truthful revelation. I hide behind my justifications, dowsing the encroaching flames with tears of denial and refusal.
I fight His fire.
God is determined. He would purify His children. He would cleanse me. By chance or by choice, He allows misfortune to come into my life. A heavenly wager like that masterminded between God and Satan for the ancestor Job? Who’s to know? I move away from the rising blaze, resolved not to be trapped by another of God’s schemes. In anger, I kick dirt on the darting tongues licking at my feet, and I spit on the glowing embers, to no avail. Glimmering heat surrounds me. I pummel the blistering air uselessly.
And still, I fight His fire.
What manner of God is this, who desires to scorch away my impurities by immersing my soul in an inferno? Has He no mercy, no understanding of the agony and the anguish, no concept of my own desire for volition and preference? Again and again, I implore Him to extinguish my smoldering self, my fevered flesh. I beg Him to grant me cooling comfort and relaxing refreshment. But there is no relief, no balmy breezes to calm my raging frame. Contentious and belligerent, I resent the fire. I despise the fire.
I continue to battle against His blaze, not knowing the deadly dross is surfacing, gathering, invisible to my own eyes, but discernible to His. He draws the impurities away, and they vanish. I am vaguely aware of a loosening, a lessening, and a lightening deep within.
One circumstance becomes another, and while my mortal dreams are reduced to ashen heaps, I contend with my compelling God, resisting His refining hand, misunderstanding His motives.
Finally, my weary, scorched soul responds, and I thirst for the flame’s intensity. Shimmering waves of His passionate love wash over me in a warm and quenching tide. Ignited by His incandescent light, brilliant and luminous, I choose to reach for and embrace the flame.
In tenderness and grace, my all-consuming God kindles His fire within my spirit, giving me an everlasting torch to carry, and then He gently touches a coal to my lips.
I no longer fight His fire.
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