I love to walk along the famous “magnificent mile” along Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
The people are always rushing about in business, and the many visitors that come to shop and tour the great city add to the bustle.
One of the most intriguing sights among the beautiful architecture is the nearly 150-year-old historic water tower on the northern end. Presently it is surrounded with a beautiful park. But history has engraved this building as a memorial of one of the greatest tragedies in the 19th century.
After the Chicago fire burned for nearly three days and the smoke cleared, the devastation that remained was inconceivable. It was estimated that one-third of the great city’s valuation was destroyed, miles of buildings, roads and infrastructure was gone.
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Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and many became homeless, losing everything. Yet, what seemed to be irreplaceable destruction from fire became the catalyst for the re-building of an even greater and economically important international city.
I would say fire is probably one of mankind’s greatest discoveries. It warms, it melts, it brings light, and it produces energy and clears away the old.
When we respect and acknowledge fire for what it is and can do, we are better and blessed. Would Chicago or the world be as blessed or as impacted if there wouldn’t have been any fire?
I am definitely not minimizing the great loss by any means, but bringing out the end result of the actual fire. Loss can bring scars, but it can also make this better in many cases. Fire isn’t all bad; it’s all how you look at it.
Scripture is full of descriptive language revealing God as fire and his acts with fire. In Hebrew 12:28-29, we read, “by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire”
The author quotes from Deuteronomy 4:24 where it also says that he is “a jealous God” The word consuming means to devour, and to burn up.
And the description of a jealous God isn’t revealing an insecure psychopath, but a holy loving God that will not allow his people to be anything but wholehearted and committed, as he is toward them.
He is tenaciously protective toward anything that tries to take our attention and passion away from him.
Jesus says in Luke 12:49, “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”
Jesus came to shake things up… to make us uncomfortable and to bring conviction toward sin. He came to reveal and deal with our sin. He came to make straight our wayward path. He wants things to be better for his people. You can’t be comfortable and passive when the fire of God comes. Yet it will set us on a course of blessing or if we are not willing to follow him then we might get burned.
In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”
To often we think Jesus came and is coming again not to disturb anything, but to make everything beautiful. No, that isn’t totally correct. He is truly the Prince of Peace, but is coming to set things right. Let the God of fire warm your heart, purify your lifestyle and empower your life’s journey. He definitely loves you and wants to make you better!