Don’t be fooled by the photo. It’s been a tragic summer in the Northwest. For many, everything has changed. People, wildlife, vegetation… For families of fallen firefighters, life will always have a before and after reference point related to this year’s Okanogan Complex Fire. Transformation for them is not just an idea. It’s a real thing.
So it is with all of us. It’s not just an idea, nor just a period of time, a space between two things, or a phase akin to that painful anomaly of American adolescence. But it’s a real thing with an uncertain life of its own, a thing with identifiable characteristics and dynamics, like fire.
“Of its own” is particularly noteworthy. Though there are similarities, no two fires are exactly alike. The same is true for us. What we do have in common is that nothing progresses exactly the same for any two of us–and we are evermore, irreversibly altered.
Job wrote of God, “He knows the way that I take, and when I am tried I will come forth as pure gold. Some days don’t you feel you should be a veritable Fort Knox?! I know I do!
For all the volumes that have been written about transformation, the best of it is DEscriptive, not PREscriptive. No one knows the nuances of navigating this relationship between the two of you but God himself. No one knows your truest self or deepest longings as God does. And God is able to complete whatever he has begun in you and me, wherever you may find yourself.
I have been outdoors a good bit this summer, and so my process has included writing about how I am experiencing God’s nearness by paying attention to what gives me life and what seems to drain me of it–life as prayer, in other words.
Prayer for me often comes in the form of poetry. Some prayers are raw, some more refined, but all are authentic. Letting others in on my process is a bit outside my norm, but it is a wonderful vehicle for prayer which I feel drawn to share. If something sparks a conversation or draws you into greater intimacy with God, then I’m thrilled. Uncomfortable? Thank the psalmists, especially that charming and miscreant monarch, David. He didn’t just write, “Bless the Lord, Oh my soul…,” you know. An honest look at the human experience brought before God is one of the great gifts he gave us.
If you find yourself so inclined, I hope my toe-dipping into these waters will encourage you to try it as well–but don’t do it just because I suggested it. That would be PREscriptive…!
From time to time I’ll include one with or without commentary. Here’s the first, a prayer rising from my thoughts around the fires we’re having in the Pacific Northwest this year. Today I’m thanking God for recent rain–and shamelessly asking for more (and slightly less wind…please?).
(Click on image to read.)