Have you ever seen the scenes of controlled burning, sometimes also known as prescribed burning? It often takes places in forest areas to reduce the amount of dead vegetation and to decrease the risk of bushfires that could cause greater damage later on. The extensive and damaging fires in Australia and Los Angeles are fearsome examples of what can go wrong when wild fires ravage the countryside and destroy everything in their paths.
The controlled burning is all done under supervision to ensure that only what needs to be destroyed is removed and is seen as a positive tool for foresters. Studies have actually revealed that something is released through these fires that germinates many seeds that have been laying dormant in the ground, sometimes for many years. The seeds lie there hidden in the ground, full of potential for life, just waiting for the fire to come.
Once the fire is extinguished, having done its job destroying all the dead wood and rot, it makes room for the new life to come. It is surprising just how quickly the seed bursts into life. The only way plants like this could have a reliance on fire was for God to have designed them that way from the very beginning.
I witnessed this first hand several times out in Uganda where the authorities
choose to set fire to specific areas. They do this to burn up the dead and rotting vegetation that is no longer fruitful or purposeful. If they chose not to carry out these controlled burns there could either be total devastation if a wild fire broke out, or the animals that need the new growth for food would go hungry.
As soon as the fires start, birds of all sizes and breeds gather from miles around. They come to make the most of the opportunity for the rich pickings of insects that had been breeding in the midst of the rot and decay of the dead vegetation. As the fire travels, the birds position themselves so close to the edge of the fire. In fact, I don’t know how they don’t get roasted, but I’m sure they must get their feet scorched! However they are an important part of the process of regeneration, as they eat all that could hamper the future new growth. This controlled fire brings life and that is why I believe it is extravagant fire.
In our lives we have seasons when the extravagant fire of God touches us - when it’s the fire of God it is started and controlled by Him. Extravagant fire releases God's love and power. The good news is that God does not abandon us during these times, but he actually walks through the fire with us and in fact, sometimes He actually carries us through.
His fire comes, burning up our dead wood and exposing the rot that can be hidden in our lives. Wounded people can so often end up full of bitterness and anger, which can cause more problems, leading to more wounding for them and others. The rot can develop quickly or over many years when we have not allowed the Lord to cleanse and heal those wounds. Often we simply need to come close enough to allow God to pour His love into our lives.
Sometimes we need to say we are sorry for things we have done wrong that have contributed to us being wounded. This is called repentance and is a very powerful way to deal with the rot. We might need to do that in person, by a telephone call or through a card, but that is not always possible. It helps if we say we are sorry to God too! Another powerful and essential tool is forgiveness, as this actually sets us free and helps us not to keep revisiting the wound.
The bugs and insects that the birds feed on, represent the battle that goes on in our minds. We often hear that little voice that replays what has happened, over and over again. Allow the Lord to help you to deal with all those negative thoughts as soon as they come. Do not brood over what has happened, keep your eyes on the Lord and He will bring you through the fire, even stronger than before.
When we yield to the extravagant fire of God, we always experience new life and growth. Often these times can re-direct the course of our lives, impacting those around us and can even change nations. I encourage you to allow God's extravagant fire to fall in your life as it really does bring His life and power to pour in you and through you.