It has been four weeks since I stood and watched a fire consuming my land. The landscape has been permanently altered. There will now always be scars and evidence of trauma. But I have discovered something in the midst of the wounds and barrenness the flames left behind; I have found gratitude and beauty.
What my physical eyes now see day after day is charred earth and dying trees, but my spiritual eyes see something more. The scars are ever reminiscent of God’s mighty hand of protection over me. I see what I have right now, but I am also blatantly aware of what could have been. And I am grateful.
Sometimes, I walk out and stand in the burn zone. I look in every direction, and my physical eyes see what the fire tried to take, but my spiritual eyes see the hedge of protection that God raised around us. The firebreak that the bulldozer carved has become a new path where I have been able to walk and discover new beauty.1 Missing trees and absent foliage provide a new line of sight to scenery that was previously obscured. I have caught my breath in awe and wonder.
And this is the message to my heart: when the receipt of the blessing is long past, let your gratitude linger. At the end of the day, be thankful He awakened you to that new day and kept you through every hour of it. When events become memories, remember them. When discontent and disappointment arrive, remember how you were blessed in the past and still are. When Thanksgiving Day passes, continue to give thanks.
As we move on through life, let us not forget the Giver of Life. He gave us the breath of life so we can know He gave His life on the cross to offer us the gift of eternal life. His power is real. His plan is perfect. His peace is available. Let’s accept His gift, and let’s return our gratitude to Him.
And let that gratitude linger, remembering all He has done for us. Let our hearts feel wonder. Let our lips offer praise.
They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
1 This scene was newly photographed from the bulldozed path across my property.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
©Text and photo Francee Strain, July 4, 2021.