I noticed the other day that Linda and I weren’t the only ones…
When moving to Orlando some 25 years ago we decided NOT to include a fireplace in our new home. At the time it was an extra $4,000 that we didn’t have (having just returning to the US from our stint as missionaries in Germany). And besides, we thought, it’s too hot in Florida. Who needs a fireplace?
Apparently, most of our neighbors must have had the same thought as I noticed very, very few chimneys on my drive to church the other day.
So, for those few mornings or evenings each year that have a touch of Florida chill to them, Linda and I manage to scrape together a somewhat meager fire in our “chimenea” which for some time has proudly sat – mostly unused – on our back patio. An $87 chimenea isn’t quite the same as a $4,000 fireplace – but God can still use it to make a point…
… such as the one He made last week on one of our last chilly mornings of the year.
At best a chimenea can handle lots of kindling and a small log or two. It maybe burns for 5 minutes then it’s time to throw on more kindling! After several rounds of this most of our kindling was gone and all that remained were some embers in the bottom of the chimenea and a basically un-burnt log resting above them. About the time I’d resigned myself to the end of my brief fire, all of a sudden a flame sprung up from the unburnt log. “Amazing! How did that happen?”
During my time on the patio that morning I had been contemplating the challenges of ministry in Europe and being reminded about Christ’s invitation to continue with Him in persevering prayer. Like many of our ME Staff and Partners, I have certainly thrown lots of kindling on the fire of prayers for Europe and Europeans. In many cases that kindling seems to have generated hot-spots of God’s blessing. Praise God for those.
But what about those times when it seems our prayers have little impact? When we’ve prayed and prayed and prayed, but instead of flames, we’re seeing only embers?
The message of the chimenea reminds me, and us, that God is still at work. The embers of our prayers are still on the heart of God. When it seems that the logs of spiritual apathy are too big to move (whether in Europe or in the life of a dear friend), it is then that God reveals Himself most profoundly. If we persevere, God will act, and flames will spring from the embers.
So, my friend, kindle up some more prayer for Europe. We’ll rejoice in the warmth of His visible answers and we’ll be amazed when the embers of our prayers spark a spiritual flame across Europe.