This is Day 5 of 40 days of the allegorical devotional fiction, The Woman in the Wilderness.
The Pillar of Fire
The light of the blazing fire completely destroyed the forces of darkness attempting to take their grip on her. She remembered how, though misguided, Job’s young and poor excuse of a friend had spoken truth. He fills His hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark.
The fire now completely blocked the path that led deeper into the valley. She stood before it, without the slightest inkling what to do. The fire was both reassuring and taunting. It was her reassurance that He was right there with her, in control as He always will be. It was, however, also a reminder of a truth she knew in her heart to be inescapable. Be holy for I am holy. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord.
She thought forward to what going through the fire would be like and the amount of pain that going through its flames would cause. She trembled, even as a single thought circled her mind several times: Go back or get consumed by His fire. She already knew this was coming for hadn’t He warned her beforehand?
Fire goes before Me and consume my foes on every side. My lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles.
To get to Him, I must go through the fire. She stood her ground, fists clenched, as if ready for battle. She was too terrified to take a step toward the fire, too determined to continue her journey to take a step back. She gritted her teeth even as she mumbled incoherently, “There can be no going back.”
The standstill seemed to last for an eternity as she stood stubborn and unmoving. She knew what had to be done, but she was terrified to do it, and so she did the only thing she knew to do. She called for His help. Give me the courage to go through this.
Her qualms were swept away by unearthly calm, she surrendered every apprehension. She shut her eyes and breathed a sigh. As if it were the most incredible feat, she gathered all the strength she could muster and took one tiny step forward, closer to the blazing fire. Little did she know that one step was all it took. The moment her feet were once again solidly planted on the ground, the fire surged toward her and within a few moments, she was completely consumed.
He fills His hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark.
Job 36:32 (NIV)
Fire goes before Him
And consumes His foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
Psalm 97:3-4 (NIV)
…without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14b (NIV)
The fear of the Lord. How often the wise speak of it!
We think of God as Father. We think of Friend, Provider, Comforter. And it’s true, He is! But in the familiarity, as we draw ever closer to Him, we forget that He is also Almighty. He is the Omnipotent one. He is The Great I Am.
When faced with His power, how do our hearts respond? Are we reminded that He is not a God Who exists to fulfill our every demand? Do we find comfort, conviction or contempt in our hearts when faced with the Greatness of a Holy God?
The wilderness is a place where we allow ourselves to be emptied in order to encounter Who He really is, not Who we want Him to be. The wilderness is not a place of convenience. It is where we meet Him in the fire and the fury. We are tested in the wilderness. We are refined in the fire of that testing.
He asks for our surrender. He asks for our “yes”.
Whatever testing you may be going through right now, when you look at what’s ahead of you, with little hope and with great dread of the trials ahead, would you be willing to surrender? Are you going to give Him your “yes”?