Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Malachi 4:1-2a (NRSV)
See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.
For almost a year I lived just outside of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The house in which I lived was in the middle of a large field where a variety of crops were grown. At the end of the growing season for each crop, the farmer would perform what is called a controlled, or prescribed, burn. While it wasn’t a raging inferno, the fire did get rid of any crops that were left behind, or weeds and debris that had grown among the crops during the season. For days afterward the acrid, terrible smell of ash hung in the air.
We all know how destructive fire can be. So, when Malachi said that evildoers would be burned up and that neither root nor branch would be left, we know that the destruction will be complete. However, just as those controlled burns destroy everything in the field, they also cleanse the ground and prepare it for new growth.
We all face fires in our lives—illnesses, financial struggles, spiritual issues, or a host of other things. God is with us during those times and may be preparing us for new growth.
Holy Lord, we face fires in our lives every day. We struggle spiritually, emotionally, and physically with problems that threaten to engulf us completely. Help us, show us the way, so that we can come out the other side of our struggles stronger in our beliefs and more faithful to you. Amen.
Go with God.