After the fire
Our family was driving through the Var region of southern France recently, and we passed through an area that had been burned in a forest fire just last summer. The scars of that destruction were still clearly visible, but what was astonishing was the amount of green already bursting forth, the unstoppable life pushing through and undoing all the hard work of the forces of darkness. Surely the devil would have liked to make a permanent waste of those mountains. How hateful it must be to him so see the world full of God's creatures glorifying him ceaselessly, reflecting back his beauty and exalting his wisdom! How powerful is the original goodness of creation still after all these centuries of sin's reign over the hearts of men! Despite all the best efforts of corrupt humanity and the diabolical powers that be, the world is still crammed with jaw-dropping beauty.
Here in the neighborhood park kids are laughing on the swings. Mothers are pushing strollers. Old men are playing pétanque. Tween girls are leaning on each-other as they roller skate. Odds are that none of these people know Christ. Yet even in the grip of sin's corruption, people in God's image still radiate joy and beauty and life. The damage done by sin is vast, but the enduring goodness of creation testifies to the pathetic weakness of the forces of sin and death.
We say that God is in complete control over this world, but how often do we look and marvel at all the resilient created goodness standing in defiance of chaos and destruction? Even when the horrible destruction wrought by sin is massive beyond comprehension, God's love and compassion on the work of his hands are greater still. The storms are terrifying and deadly, but all of them pass. The Church stands undaunted, and even where Christ is not named, common grace refuses to abandon even the darkest corners of creation.
From one perspective, so many things seem to be going wrong these days, and we worry about what the future holds, but even if all that we fear comes true, what of it? All the gains of the devil are limited and fleeting, and all his pathetic schemes are dashed to pieces by a single word from the throne of heaven. The fire passes through for a moment, but life inevitably returns to take back its own.