Last year – 2020 – is surely a bit of a blur for many.  It was extremely eventful for us with many curveballs, hiccups, and also blessings as we welcomed our daughter into the world.  In the midst of it all, a tv series was released entitled Little Fires Everywhere.  It was produced by Hulu and starred Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.  It’s a fascinating look at how two different families living two very different realities were intertwined with a wild outcome. 

Though there were, quite literally, little fires everywhere at one point in the show, there was also a theme throughout the series which compared societal weaknesses, family baggage/struggles in parenting, and the destructiveness of secrets to little fires, causing damage all along the way.

Isn’t that how life seems at times?  Especially during a year like 2020, it can seem like there are little fires burning and collecting power, exponentially building until too much damage has been done.  You may have seen small fires involving unrest within your family, losses of jobs, personal health issues that have burdened you, and especially volatility in your community across the board during that time.  You may feel small fires burning in you in regards to anxiety, fear, anger, depression, etc.  And all of those things, without something more powerful and able to redirect them, have the ability to do great damage, as you may see in the tv series.

Did you know that nature is often able to redirect massive destruction events and bring out some good from it?  During 2019, there were wildfires ravaging Australia, doing incredible amounts of damage to the general population, as well as to vast amounts of animals and even 21% of Australia’s temperate and broadleaf forests.  It was shocking to witness on the news stations.  However, nature responded. 

Smoke rising from wildfires on the eastern coast of Australia in late 2019. New research finds that iron in smoke from these fires likely helped fuel an explosion of algae in oceans thousands of miles away. Courtesy of Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communication Technology

Thousands of miles away, a growth of algae 2,000 miles wide (matching the size of Australia itself) formed in the southern Pacific Ocean – all in response to the wildfires.  How could that happen?  Well, just as the fertilizer that we use around our homes might enrich the plants we grow, smoke fertilizes the ocean.  Nitrogen in the smoke seeps into the waters and these giant algal blooms feed like crazy.  And this algae is massively beneficial to our planet!

Wildfires in Australia in 2019 fueled large algal blooms, shown in dark red. Weiyi Tang et al./Nature

Nature experiences small fires everywhere, as well as large ones like in Australia.  After these experiences, it tends to bounce back.  It has a tendency to bring good out of the bad. 

Do you experience small fires everywhere in your life?  Do you experience large debilitating ones?  Do you witness hopelessness and massive losses because of circumstances you have encountered?  One more question: do you bounce back?  Do you sense something outside of yourself directing any amount of healing with every small fire that burns?

Nature has a way of turning some bad things to good, but we know that it is only a tool in God’s tool box that He utilizes to turn all things to good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and as nature mimics this quality in Him, it can point the world to His goodness.  That doesn’t mean that fires don’t burn.  Some of us experience little fires that never give us a break or large ones that seemingly wipe us out in one foul swoop.  Having a relationship with God does not eliminate this reality.  But it does give you access to One who promises to bring good out of all sorts of pain.  That’s redemption.  That’s resurrection. 

So just remember in the midst of your fires that God is with those who desire Him and He offers you the following:

  • 1 Peter 5:10 – And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
  • James 1:2-4 – Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
  • Romans 5:3-5 – … we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
  • John 16:33 – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
  • Romans 8:18 – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Love you all,

Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff

Little Fires Everywhere

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