When I was a child, our family vacations consisted of driving to Mississippi to spend the weekend at my great aunt Bel’s camp. The camp was a single wide trailer on a huge piece of land. Between her property and the neighbor’s (about a mile away), there was a pond and a creek. It was paradise to me. In the evenings we would light a fire and stare through the darkest dark I’d ever seen up to the night sky as God intended it to look, strewn with as many stars as there are grains of sand on the beach.
Often, the fire would begin to die down and Dad would send us to look for kindling. My brothers and I would run around in the dark looking for every stick and twig and thick weed we could gather. It was like finding treasure because kindling meant fire, which meant marshmallows and hot dogs and s’mores and sometimes bamboo shoots and coke cans and other things that were fun to burn.
I don’t think there is ever any other context in my life when I looked so joyfully upon a dry, brittle stick. When I see them now, lying beneath trees or on the sidewalks or next to curbs, I think of them as mess to be swept away. And when my heart is dry and brittle, my response is much the same. But dry sticks are easier to sweep away than a dry and hard heart.
In those moments when we feel the dryness and dullness toward the Lord, it is easy to become discouraged and skulk away from His presence, waiting for it to just go away. But our God is a consuming fire, and our dry hearts are easily ignited kindling waiting for the flame of God to set it ablaze. That flame can’t spark the kindling from a distance, we must run into it!
Oh Lord, help us to run!