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Joy in the MIdst of Trial
by David Melles, elder on June 15th, 2012

People build with gold, silver, very fine stones, wood, grass, or straw on top of the foundation. But the day will come when everyone's work can be seen. Their work will be tested by fire and the fire will show what kind of work each one did. If the work a man did is not burned up in the fire, he will be paid for his work.But if a man's work is burned up, he will lose everything. He himself will be saved, like a man pulled out of the fire.You know that you are God's house. The spirit of God lives in you. 1 Corinthians 3:12-16

We continue to witness the devastation of wild fires throughout Colorado and New Mexico, burning out of control. Yet even as these raging fires consume the forest, something is quietly going on to prepare their very renewal.

Did you know that there is an unusual species of Evergreen called the Lodgepole Pine that grows in great numbers throughout Northwest America, especially in Yellowstone Park.

One of the fascinating aspects of this Pine is the uniqueness of its cones. It can take many years for Lodgepole Pines to release their cones from the branches and, even when they do fall, they will not open to release their seed...until they are in the presence of intense heat!

Why, we might ask, has God designed these trees to have this characteristic?

Having designed nature, including the potential for destructive forest fires, He has providentially prepared for their subsequent renewal by designing a Pine tree whose reproduction requires its own! So, even as trees, wildlife, and all living things are being destroyed in a forest blaze, the seeds of renewal are also being released for the "resurrection" of forest life...because, of course, since their seeds are actually released by the fire, the Lodgestone Pines are the first to grow in an area that's been burned!

Sometimes there are areas in our own lives that need to be consumed or burnt by the refining fire of God’s Spirit. However God has also provided for a renewal in us...a "seed" of something brand new, which can only be birthed by intense heat. This new seed, however it manifests in our lives, represents the resurrection life of Christ, which emerges in the presence of His purifying fire.

So the Lodgepole Pine is a picture for us, of resurrection and hope in the midst of fiery trials.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

James is calling us to endurance, hope and joy in the midst of trials, allowing God to consume everything in us which does not serve His Glory, even if it means a lot of heat!

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