A couple weeks ago, I went camping solo for the first time–well, not really solo but without my parents. My friend and I drove up to the beloved Adirondacks to soak in some sweet pine scent, stars, mountain views, and freedom from technology. We were successful in achieving all that we desired to accomplish but not without some effort. The most comical episode came after first passing our campground due to poorly labeled maps, roads and no GPS signal, setting up the tent in the dark, and searching for a gas station in the remote woods. Yes, the ultimate struggle took the shape of a neatly formed, tepee of sticks. Now I by no means have the skill of an eagle scout, but growing up as a staff kid in the Adirondacks, I had my fair share experience in making a campfire. So I was not at all surprised when our fire lit and burned beautifully. Burned beautifully for 30 seconds, that is. Then there was no more fire–nothing but smoke blowing away. Okay, the wood we gathered though seemingly dry must have been a bit damp. We stuffed in more paper, lit it again, and blew on those baby flames willing them to catch the sticks on fire. This repeated probably five times and about twenty minutes later, we finally had a campfire lit and ready for roasting marshmallows.
As I sat there finally enjoying the mesmerizing flames leap back and forth, I was reminded how potent fire can be if it gets going. It took a lot of persistence and babying to get that fire started, but once some large sticks were burning, that fire wasn’t going out anytime soon. In fact, by the time we went to bed, I had to douse it with water. It was worth the effort, and I am so glad we didn’t give up. Believe me, after the third try it really seemed hopeless, but we wanted those s’mores!
Don’t give up! That was the testimony my campfire blazoned.
When I look at the world around me and even at my own life in the process of sanctification, it can seem hopeless. The attempts we make to witness or change the social evils of the world appear to fizzle out. Our work may seem in vain, but it is not. We have the foreknowledge of assured victory, for our “fire” is not of this world. It is not even ours. It is the Holy Spirit’s. Only he can change the hearts of people. This reason encourages us to not give up! We do not act on our strength, but we must act all the same. We are the instruments of God’s Spirit–the breath fanning the flames. We can give our all for the Kingdom of God! Keep blowing–spreading the gospel, and caring for the disadvantaged–God will bring about a “fire” that won’t end. Don’t ever give up on that!