Without the Fire the Seeds Will Never Grow


Stretching south for hundreds of miles from Glacier National Park lay a majestic mixture of valleys, rushing streams, and gargantuan mountains called the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Backpackers have hiked there for decades looking for elk, grizzlies and golden eagles. Fortunately the grizzlies stay up in the high country, but a golden eagle may be spotted and the elusive wolverine may be tracked.


The Bob Marshall Wilderness hosts some 90,000 packers and hikers each year, most of them in the months of July and August. They must come in either by foot or horseback. No motorized vehicles are allowed. The forests on those rugged mountain slopes are thick with Lodgepole Pine, a tough, hardy tree with cones so thick that only extreme heat can burst forth the seeds. That’s where fire comes in. For thousands — oh, millions of years — lightning has cracked the big sky out there down to the forests below. (Often the lightning will hit the Douglas Firs, less rugged than the Lodgepole Pines, and a forest fire will begin.) For years, of course, the United States Forest Service fought furiously to put out these fires. More recently, they have adopted a policy of managed fires. They have learned these fires have a purpose. Without them the seeds of the Lodgepole Pines are never released. Without them much of the underbrush and plant life there does not regenerate. The earth needs a fire cast on it or it will die.


Jesus, speaking to Peter, that blustery, Lodgepole Pine kind of a man, said, “Peter, I have a fire to cast over the earth, and how I am constrained until it be kindled!” What did Jesus mean? He knew that Peter, like all of his disciples, was a wilderness that needed fire or he would die. Peter needed the fire of God’s Word to keep his heart from freezing over and to keep the passion of his soul from cooling down.


John G. Lynn, Trouble Journey, CSS Publishing

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