Saturday, November 6, 2010

Unexpected Fires

I once started a fire in my kitchen while attempting a home remedy to remove trapped water from my son’s ear. A friend had suggested that I heat equal parts vinegar and alcohol in a spoon and then dispense it into his ear. I carefully poured the vinegar and alcohol into the center of a large spoon, grabbed a lighter from the kitchen drawer, and cautiously held the flame under the liquid.

After about thirty seconds (just as I was about to extinguish the lighter) the mixture ignited. Looking at the flames in disbelief, I panicked and dropped the spoon, spilling the flaming liquid onto the counter. I quickly ran to the sink, turned on the faucet, cupped my hands under the running water, and tossed a handful onto the flames. The small puddle of fiery liquid suddenly became a stream of flames, flowing across the counter.

Shaking his head and rolling his eyes, my son, Brandon, calmly grabbed a dish towel from the drawer, soaked the towel under the running faucet, and threw it over the fire. The flames immediately disappeared. We stared at each other for a few seconds and then burst into simultaneous laughter.

How do you respond to the unexpected fires of life? Unfortunately, many of us respond to the loss of a job, a car accident, or a serious illness, much like I reacted to the flaming spoon that day in my kitchen —with utter panic and careless action.

Ephesians 6:16 tells believers to “…take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” We take up our shield of faith by choosing to trust God when we encounter an unexpected trial. When your supervisor hands you a pink slip, instead of making a bee-line to the nearest mall and purchasing three new interview outfits on credit, or placing your house on the market that afternoon, choose (as my son did that day in my kitchen) to remain calm. Take time to pray, and seek God’s guidance before taking action.

By choosing to trust God, you will extinguish the fiery darts of fear, confusion, and doubt that can cause you to react with reckless haste. Not to mention, you just might avoid the humbling experience of turning a small fiery puddle into a flowing stream of flames.


  1. It never ceases to amaze me how God can teach such great lessons using everyday events. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I've started a few fires myself, accidentally of course. God never fails to amaze me. He never stops to ask, "what were you thinking?" He never says, "you got yourself into this - go ahead and get yourself out of it." Even during the times that he allows me to experience the consequences for my decisions, he still rescues me - even when I doubt that He will. Thanks for sharing!

    ps... My husband bought me a fire extinguisher for the kitchen. Just in case. Oy!

  3. I think a fire extinguisher for the kitchen is a great idea, Donna. ;-)