I will Stand by You. Hope in the Distance, Part 15

God's Renewal


"And the one sitting on the throne said, 'Look, I am making everything new!"" Revelation 21:5 NLT

Wildfires had nearly ravaged this popular tourist attraction.

My wife and I made our way to a conference in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Due to the heavy traffic and construction on the interstate, we decided to take the scenic route through Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Several months before, wildfires set by pranksters had threatened to destroy this popular tourist destination, along with parts of nearby Pigeon Forge. We were eager to see the damage. To our surprise, we saw very little.

As we neared Gatlinburg, the bottoms of burned trees were the only giveaway that fires had marched through the forests. Lush, green grass grew two feet high. Though trees were burned at their bottoms, the tops burst forth with new life. Things almost seemed greener and more alive than normal.

Driving through Gatlinburg, we saw only a few burned buildings. Most that had suffered damage had already been repaired. "Gatlinburg Strong" was plastered on marquis, shirts, cups, and other souvenir items. The will of the people had renewed what the wildfire attempted to destroy.

God told John He had the same power, and, in the end, would renew all things. The tainted earth, like scorched Gatlinburg, would be renewed.

Evil attempts to destroy the beauty God originally created. While it may appear it has the upper hand, God is still in control. Exactly why He allows it to continue when He could easily extinguish it is a question He hasn't chosen to answer. But the end of the story reminds us who's in control.

God's in the renewal business. When Satan attempts to thwart God's purposes for my life through temptations and trials, God reminds me there's no temptation so great that He can't show me a way through. When the trials are so intense that it appears they will destroy my soul, God sends relief in one form or another. He causes green to grow where blackness once spread. All God asks of me is to let Him control my life and my situations. When I do, He will renew what Satan seems to have destroyed. He will redeem disappointing and discouraging situations and then use me to help others experience the same redemption. And He'll do the same for you.

Let God bring renewal where the fires of this world have brought destruction.

Prayer: Father, we trust You to renew what Satan and others appear to have destroyed.


Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA


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