I love campfires. I especially love to sit around a campfire with good friends and a bag of marshmallows to roast. Our family has done a lot of camping over the years and I have to admit that there's just nothing better. The coolness of the night; the stars shining up above; the warmth of the fire; and the gooey, sticky mess of roasted marshmallows on a stick. Just the thought and the imagery makes me want to go camping right this minute.
I can vividly remember one particular camping trip and sitting around the campfire that evening. For some reason, I was the only one sitting around the campfire. Everyone else had already gone to bed. It was so peaceful. The reds and yellows and oranges of the fire and the crackling of the wood slowly burning. There's something quite peaceful and relaxing about watching a campfire at night. I must have been sitting there alone, watching the fire, for half an hour or so when my eye caught one small coal streaking from the body of the fire, landing just short of my foot. In fact, I thought for a split second this hot ember was going to land on my foot. But, it didn't.
I watched this coal, separated from the body of the main fire, flicker and burn for some time, probably 15 minutes. It would alternate between a dull, barely visible yellow and then quickly burst into a bright orange as a gust of wind blew over it. From dull to bright, I watched this lone ember seemingly fight for it's survival. While the main campfire burned steadily and brightly, the single ember finally lost its fight and flickered out.
How often my Christian life has mirrored this single ember. For a while, I was prayerful with Christ and leaned on him for my every need. For a while, I was reading God's word regularly. For a while, I was praying regularly. For a while, I was having fellowship with other Christians and witnessing to non-Christians. Then, over time, I became like the ember separated from the fire. I became isolated from God. I couldn't find time for God anymore. I didn't need to pray as often; I just tried to fix everything myself. I didn't fellowship with other believers and didn't bother myself with witnessing to others. Just like the ember, I spiritually began to burn out. I flickered. I fought. I tried to survive.
God, with HIS mercy, graced me with a fresh breeze of HIS love that rekindled my desire for HIM. For the first time in a long time, I felt part of the main "campfire" again. I wasn't a lone ember struggling for survival.
How would you describe your relationship with HIM today? Are you burning brightly, or are you the lone ember waiting for a gust of wind to reignite your flame? The Lord never turned His back on me; I turned my back on HIM. He's there at this moment with arms open wide, waiting for you to come Home to HIM, just as He welcomed me.