You’ve probably heard the old saying “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” This is a rather timely saying these days as we live from week to week under smoke-laden skies. There is plenty of complaining about itchy eyes, headaches, coughing, and real trouble for those with respiratory issues. But when we take a closer look, we realize that huge areas of farms, ranches, and homes have been devastated by the wildfires that are causing our smoke. The next time you cough, say a prayer for the firefighters and landowners who are struggling to put the fires out.
It is much easier to complain about the symptom than it is to consider the cause. In life we can complain about a lack of finances, rather than place our spending habits in a strict budget. We can complain about bad behavior in children, rather than spend the time and energy it takes to teach them respect. We can worry about a decision, rather than learning to depend on God for guidance. We can be caught up in the symptoms of life, rather than developing a relationship with the creator of life.
We’ve all been affected by the smoky weather, in the same way that the first followers of Jesus were worried about their world. The fires of persecution and moral decay were rampant, creating a concerning amount of “smoke.” They needed to see that the cause of that smoke was a failure to have a relationship with God. Most people would agree those same issues are in our culture today. So what was the interesting response presented in the Bible, that will also work in our world today? “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus,” reads Philippians 4:4-7.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Where life’s problems cloud your vision, look to what is burning in your life, and remember, the Lord is near.
This column was written on behalf of the Moses Lake Christian Ministerial Association.