Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Forest

What a great time of year autumn is! The trees are jeweled with topaz,ruby,emerald green and gold!Fall Festivals in the mountains of Pa. are awesome,especially around Renova.
Back in the 1970's we were anxious to get out of the city and move to the rural part of the Jersey shore.We found the perfect place in an old chicken farm area with abandoned chicken coops and woods as far as you can see. WOODS!! Land!! No more bus diesal smell! The house was in the process of being built when we found it in the newspaper realty section.We took a drive and made the downpayment and jumped up and down with happiness.We were young and it would be our first house.One day,after a few hot days in April, my husband's brother called and said,"How's your house?" "I said fine, how's your house?"."No, I'm not kidding.Don't you know what happened?",he said. "What are you talking about?",I asked. "There was a big forest fire and it was right on your street !". He then read the Newark Star Ledger account of the devastation. The real estate agent never called us. I guess he was afraid we'd back out of the deal.I called and was told that the houses on the street were all fine and the fire dept hosed them all down .They did do a great job.We hopped in the car to see what had happened.Our house was at the stage with just foundation,frame & plywood siding .What we saw was devastating.As far as we could see the woods were black as toast.Three thousand acres of wall to wall black carpeting.I closed my eyes, shook my head and was speechless. There were no words .I didn't want to live there.For what? But, we were committed. What we didn't expect was the healing process that would take place.The spring rains and warmer days brought forth gentle green ferns as far as the eye could see.It made a beautiful contrast against the deep black.

I found myself strangely happy and looked forward to walks in the woods unhindered by dense brush and clutter.Ferns are the fragile sensitive new growths that greet the sun's rays .We may see the charred tree trunks of something that was and grieve for the old life. But God is concerned with new healthy growth.Gradually new little trees sprung forth from the bases of the pines and surprisingly,the big trees brought forth life once again where we thought it was over.What caused this forest fire? The pine barrens are vulnerable in early spring when unseasonably hot sunny days can ignite the dried leaves on the forest floor.A piece of broken glass is all it takes.Sometimes it's the work of an arsonist or a negligent person's cigarette butt.
God is very much concerned with the lives of those that have had devastating experiences.Whether the cause was from within or the negligent or intentional work of another, God is the Lord of Life and does not want us consumed or incapacitated with our charred past.It's time to go on and live for Him. He is the God of Grace and our life is IN HIM. First he brings forth gentle ferns, timid and fragile and later ,if we keep our eyes on the SON and absorb the Living Water, the strength of oak trees.
"Draw nigh unto God, and He will draw nigh unto you"~ James 4:8
Here's something fun to look up in your concordance (Strong's). You will need a King James Bible) God says He will add (1) Grace unto grace (2)faith unto faith (3)strength unto strength . These are from 3 different verses in different books of the Scriptures.

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