All-Consuming Fire

[Photo by Hans Isaacson on Unsplash]

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Fire has always been familiar. As someone who grew up camping, I saw it often. We also used it a lot at church gatherings, so there is that. I saw how it would grow into a steady flame, how it warmed food and snacks. I heard stories in its glow. I felt its warmth on cold nights. The crackle was always a bit hypnotic. It was a place of gathering. Not always for friends, but definitely for those who were familiar. I remember moments of silence by a fire and moments where I extended my arms toward it to warm my hands; also moments of laughter and moments of worship (someone always had a guitar, the most portable instrument in the world, I suppose).

Its warmth was real. Its warning of danger was real. Its light was real. In recent years, I felt the yearning to go camping, stronger and stronger. I miss seeing the stars at night, the rustle of the trees, an occasional raccoon stealing sustenance, and the fleece cocoon of a sleeping bag. Mostly, I miss the bonfire moments, sparks flying up to the heavens.

God is described as an all-consuming fire in Scripture. Mostly, it is a description of His holiness. It is also not lost on me that anything that touches fire is radically transformed. God leaves nothing unchanged. These are the things that come to mind on the nights filled with stars, where I take my sticky marshmallow off the knobby stick and wedge it between two graham crackers and a tiny piece of chocolate gets goopy. These are the thoughts I ponder as the fire dies down and the night grows cold. There is a force in the world that doesn’t grow cold or stop burning. His warmth and light are inextinguishable.

Even when the fire has gone out, even when the campgrounds have been far– His warmth that I learned to feel in those moments has never departed.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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