A couple weeks ago, I got to witness the spectacular prairie fires of the Flint Hills. During the day, these were marked by giant plumes of smoke billowing in the distance and then as we drew nearer we would see pockets of fire gnawing it's way across cattle country in thin lines. But then we saw them at night. Incredible - one of the new wonders of the world in my opinion. I'm so glad we saw them.
It was other worldly and surreal. Rings of orange fire burning on a totally black background and gray smoke differentiating the sky. The fire burns in small lines and uses up the dried winter wisps of prairie grass. It isn't a raging fire but pockets, lines, and rings. When it meets a damp spot or a gulley, it just dies out.
We read at the truck stop that the fires are set and also occur naturally as lightening strikes with the spring storms. Also the Native American's used to set the fires to have better grazing lands that would attract buffalo herds.
It also said that the fires are good for the vegatation. Apparently a variety of grasses and wildflowers are rooted 10-15 feet deep in the rolling hills and without the fires, the full scope of vegatation won't happen. A couple weeks later driving through the same section, it was already getting green and the parts that had not burned were still a tangle of brown winter grass.
I was thinking how as people it is so hard to change. We don't want the challenges and the suffering that life brings. I was thinking about the economic fire that is burning in the world today. What if we need the surface scorched off in a brief prairie fire in order to let the good, deeper things emerge? Will we know what is important and what our priorities are because we've had to go through this economic fire? God can use the scorched earth of these hard times to bring out the better and deeper things in us. Something beautiful, full, rich and green. If only I can see past the fire, to the wildflowers and bounty beyond.