The Fires of 88

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

On our recent trip to Yellowstone, we attended a ranger talk about the fires that burned almost one-third of the park in the summer of 1988.  The film we saw documented the changes that took place 10 years after the fire.  Well, it is now 22 years after the fire, and the changes are even more dramatic, with new, growing trees, abundant wildlife and more open area pasture land more suitable for elk.

At the time, the fire was seen as a great tragedy, and, to the extent human life was lost, it was.  However, the fires, after time, are now being seen as something that improved the park.  Fires are a way to “clean” the forest as dead underbrush is removed and new growth can replace the old.  Bears thrived on the dead carcasses of elk.  The fallen trees fertilized the land.  More “edge” areas of open lands were developed which helped wildlife.  There were suddenly more wild flowers.  As for reseeding, God took care of that too, as pinecones burst open at certain high temperatures, releasing thousands of seeds and resulting in many new pine trees to replace the old.

The point?  Good can come from bad.  As the verse above says, not all things are good, but God can work through all things to bring about good; to bring about his perfect will.  We love; stuff happens; God works; good results.  We’re seeing this in our Sunday bible class on the book of Acts.  Everywhere Paul turns, it seems like a riot develops or he gets beaten.  But God uses each setback to his purpose, the purpose of getting Paul to Rome.

As I think back over my life, I see the truth in this.  What seemed like setbacks at the time have turned out to be stepping-stones for me and my family and for ministry.  Things don’t always go as planned, but I can trust God to make something even better out of the debris.  I think he can do the same thing with you.

Oh, and guess how the fires were put out in Yellowstone?  It wasn’t the army of firefighters, who did their best in an almost impossible situation.  How did the fire end?  It snowed.  How like God.

“Living by His Grace”

Jim Schnorrenberg


About Jim Schnorrenberg

Husband; father; grandfather; minister; counselor
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