Friday, March 23, 2018

They Said it was Like Hell

They said it was like hell. Of course, they’ve never been to hell, but I imagine it was a reasonable facsimile. 

Yesterday I woke up to the smell of bush burning. I couldn’t see anything but as the day wore on I became aware that forest fires were burning all around the town. Some 25,000 hectares (almost 62 thousand acres) out around Gogama resulted in mass evacuations of the town and the cottages in that area. Highways were closed and on the last day of a holiday weekend, life probably got complicated for those trying to get home.

The cause of the fires hasn’t been reported yet. There has been a fire ban on, though that doesn’t mean someone wasn’t careless. But we have had thunder storms so it could have easily been lightning. Regardless of the cause, yesterday rain was welcome.

I remember seeing the mountains around Caracas lit up from fires. Dry weather, lightning, carelessness and arson all came into play there, much as they do here in Canada. We wonder at the events around us, marvel at their power to disrupt our lives. We are creatures who like to be in control. But there are so many things we can’t control. Like fire, they get away from us.

I was reading Hannah’s prayer this morning and was reminded again that when life is out of my control, it is never out of God’s. She prayed:

The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord send poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; upon them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the Lord will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth” (1 Samuel 2:6-10, NIV).

Hannah could not control her world, but she knew what to do. She threw herself on the mercy of the One who was in control and learned that He is faithful. So she could say with confidence: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one beside you; there is no Rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:1, 2, NIV).

It’s nice to be able to control our personal world, but when that isn’t possible—and even when it is—it’s even better to have a personal relationship with the Almighty, the Controller of heaven and earth. He even controls hell.


Lynda is a missionary, speaker, educator, writer, editor, and cat lover. She was born and raised in Timmins, the heart of gold mining country in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Lynda has served with Fellowship International for more than thirty years, first in Colombia, a brief stint on home staff in Toronto, Ontario and, more recently in Venezuela. She is currently on staff at First Baptist Church in Timmins, Ontario where her primary focus is spiritual formation. The author of Divine Design for Daily Living, a 365 day devotional journey through the entire Bible (published in Spanish and English),  Lynda blogs Lynda’s Grain of Sand, maintains her own website Northern Breezes , and has been seconded by Fellowship International to serve on the Communications team of The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada.

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