When the Flicker Becomes a Flame


It is Sunday night and I am sitting in the room I call me den, listening to the wind howl outside and trying to kep the fire in the wood stove going. I am not sure if it is some bad wood, maybe too green or if there is a back draft coming down the stove pipe, but the fire just doesn’t want to go. A lick of flame will briefly light up the fire box, then quickly disappear. I have to admit it is much like my faith has been lately.

For about the last week and a half I have been feeling as if I am slipping backwards in my faith. I feel like God has somehow deserted me. I know he hasn’t but I guess I am just down. I almost skipped Mass today, I haven’t been doing my spiritual reading like I usually do and this is the first post in about a week. My life has been a struggle lately and it can be overwhelming. Like the fire, I can’t seem to catch. There is a flicker of flame and the it dies down to just a wisp of smoke.

But I know we sometimes need to go through tough times in order to be closer to God and for Him to make us stronger. Here is a passage from “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas Kempis

When a man of good will is afflicted, tempted, and tormented by evil thoughts, he realizes clearly that his greatest need is God, without Whom he can do no good.

There was a time when I didn’t realize that my greatest need was God.I do realize it now.  These tough times will end and I will be stronger for having gone through them. It just takes patience, mixing the green wood with the seasoned, adjusting the flue and the draft. I’ll need to poke and prod the embers and the logs, but after awhile they will get the right amount of air and the flames will once again burn bright, the wood will glow orange, radiating heat throughout the room and soon the house, the cold will be but a memory.

In fact, I can see the flames already growing in the firebox and I am beginning to feel heat warming these old bones. Just like God does with our hearts.

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