Rose Jackson © 9/1/2009
(A family tradition is to write our names in sparkler. No name in this one, but maybe that’s because it was meant for you, and your name is hidden in the fire!)

How to get this implosion of understanding onto paper in all of the power with which it came upon me this morning? No beautifully crafted words this morning. No, the imperative of this sudden insight compel me to get it down and out to you who hear the flames crackling and cringe from the heat pressing against you.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3

Walking through this fiery trial, I am not burned up. In fact, more and more I am enveloped in times of glorious joy and confidence, love and power, as I was this morning out walking the dogs. How can this be, except that God, the Holy Spirit, dunamis, (dynamite!) sets a backfire by his presence and power within me that sweeps over and burns out the blaze the enemy has set in my life and marriage? “Oh, my gosh!” I exclaimed with sudden recognition within myself. “This is exactly what firefighters do to put out brush fires and forest fires: extinguish them by removing their fuel, fighting fire with fire!”

Like the burning bush that was not consumed – I suspect like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walking around in the fiery furnace with and surrounded by the holy, protecting fire of the fourth figure (Jesus himself?!) who looked “like a son of the gods” – I can feel the ring of the Spirit’s holy fire around me, protecting me from the ravenous flames of Satan. My enemy’s plans for me and my husband will backfire because of the BACKFIRE of the Spirit of God surrounding his throne, where I stand!

“For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deut. 4:24)

“. . . and among the lampstands was someone ‘like a son of man,’ dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.” (Rev. 1:12-15)

How many stories have I heard of missionaries whose lives were preserved by cordons of flaming beings or rings of fire, visible to their enemies? Flames and fire are not metaphors for God; he is that fire, and somehow a fire that preserves his beloved while it destroys his enemies! A backfire of jealous love!

He, the unquenchable holy fire, fills his children! “Come be the fire inside of me; come be the flame upon my heart.” From the song “You Won’t Relent,” sung by Kim Walker and Chris Quilala.

“But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.“ Matthew 3:11

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit . . . . “ Acts 2:2-3

No wonder I can stand more and more often in rapturous joy, tears streaming down my face in absolute delight! Now wonder I dance in the face of betrayal and hopelessness. I am surrounded by hope that protects and preserves my heart!

Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here! So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Daniel 3: 26-27

. . . And when this is over, I won’t be consumed. You won’t either, dear one! The enemy’s plans against us are bound to backfire! There won’t be so much as the hint of a s’more-making campfire upon us! On the contrary, we will pour out the fragrance of our beloved, our God and Savior Jesus!