A Burning Kind of Experience

by | May 20, 2008 | Blessing, Circumstances, Trials

Often we look at circumstances as unavoidable events with absolutely no value. But if we take the time to reflect on them, a whole world of opportunities open up to us.

We were just returning from our shopping spree at a Walmart Supercenter at Seattle, right after our flight from Rochester, New York. Night had finally set in, and except for the headlights of the nearby cars on Highway 5, total darkness surrounded us.

Suddenly the entire sky seemed to light up with flames! How could this be? Wasn’t it a bit late to be burning unwanted weeds or tree limbs, as they often do in my neighborhood?

Soon another light joined the flames: Police lights! And they were just ahead of us on the highway! As the surrounding cars started to slow down, the source of the flames came into view: A car, in the right-hand lane of northbound Highway 5. Just ahead of us!

After quickly praying for the safety of the occupants of the car, we began to take in the details of the fire. It was concentrated on the front end of the vehicle. In fact, only the car’s skeleton could be seen up front, and the front tires were completely burned up. We had to wonder just what the flames were now finding to consume! We hypothesized that a gas line had broken, spreading its highly flammable contents on the overheated motor. The reaction was likely sudden and surprising, and the rest was history.

I blinked. This was a déjà vu! The same thing had happened to me when I was a student visiting London! I was driving a cheap, somewhat fossilized vehicle and I had just filled the tank with gas when my car suddenly began to smoke! I remembered my mouth gaping open, and the first thought in my mind was, “and I didn’t even buy it a Cuban cigar!” This thought was quickly followed by, “How could it do this to me?”

I quickly drove to the curb and parked the car. Opening the hood, I was met with a deadly fire. What was I going to do? Then, out of the blue, a man appeared with a fire extinguisher. I had no idea that Londoners carried such things on them! He quickly quenched the fire and diagnosed my costly little problem: a gas line had ruptured, leaking gasoline all over my hot motor. Thus the “cigar smoke”! At that time, I had no idea that my car, as well as its valuable occupant could have turned into carbonized skeletons! How thankful I am that my Heavenly Father watched over me!

Reflecting over these events, I realize that God is often perceived as a burning fire to many. They see Him as a tyrant, a great Being whose only purpose is to limit their choices. He is seen quite differently, however, by those who have made the effort to getting to know Him. These cannot stop praising Him and thanking Him for all of His goodness. They realize that His kingdom is their ultimate home. They recognize that this is a result of Jesus’ 2000 year-old sacrifice. Nothing can shake them because their foundation is unshakeable!

“Do you see what we’ve got? An unshahekable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!” (Heb 12:28-29 The Message)

We can’t help but worship God when we realize that eternity begins as soon as we start getting to know God on a personal level. He is the only One who always has our best interest at heart! “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 NIV) Nothing can shake us; not car fires, not trials, not persecution are certainly not temporary circumstances! Eternity awaits us in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father.

P. S. If you are worried about your circumstances, you better buy a fire extinguisher. You never know when your car might decide to smoke like a cigar!

Rob Chaffart


A Burning Kind of Experience