The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him … For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. Lamentations 3:25, 31-32
I’ve been lamenting over the loss of 52,000 acres of Custer State Park to a recent wildfire. After wildfires the land looks charred and barren – not what tourists (or I) want to look at. Local firefighters have termed the area where all the vegetation was consumed a “Nuke Zone.” A few of the larger trees are still standing, blackened by the fire. But the grasses, brush, smaller trees and downed logs on the forest floor are totally burned up. In some areas the ash is said to be several inches deep. Even the soil in Custer is scorched.
However, locals assure me all is NOT dead. Sometimes while the area is still smoking, deer wander through licking the burnt edges for minerals. The lodgepole pine cones that were tightly sealed have been opened by the high temperatures of the fire, their seeds scattered by the wind. I’m told by next Spring the area may be carpeted with wildflowers. And a couple of years from now, new brush will provide plenty of food for the Bison and Elk. The population of mice often spikes first, followed by increase in coyotes and hawks the following year, etc. Insects will move into the snags brining woodpeckers drilling holes into the wood, providing homes for other birds and squirrels. Healing and life continue even now.
Sometimes our lives can feel like a “Nuke Zone” too. Perhaps you’ve suffered the death of a loved one or gone through a divorce. Maybe you lost a job or been diagnosed with a life-changing illness. Our days can feel lifeless. Maybe you feel abandoned by God while suffering. However, as time goes by, new life peeks through the devastation. You begin to sense God’s compassion and love anew with new meaning, new joy and new understanding born out of the fire and abundance returns.
Don’t give up. Have hope in the new year. Life continues.