You may have heard about the wildfires that are devastating the interior of B.C. Here in the southwest corner of the province we have been getting a daily reminder of those fires in hazy, smoke-filled skies. Though we’ve had a stretch of clear weather, the sky lights up late and darkens early under an other-worldly red sun.
But I’m not complaining. Especially not when I think of the hundreds that have been evacuated from their homes and those who have lost them altogether to the flames.
The recent smoky skies have brought to mind a Bible woman who lost her home to fire. Lot’s wife reacted like I can see myself acting when strangers hurried her, her husband Lot, and their two daughters from their home in Sodom. She didn’t want to go. I think we can say that her look back showed how conflicted she was about leaving home (read the story in Genesis 19:15-26).
Last week I did a Bible art journal entry on Lot’s wife. I drew her frozen in time, looking back at her burning city.
Then I added, as a tip-in page, a poem I wrote about her nine years ago. In it, I tried to imagine what was going through her mind as she was being pulled away from her home.
Who are these strangers to command we leave?
Right now? You wear the embroidered robe
I’ll take the pouch. What about food
and drink, our girls’ betrothed?
Why are we rushing from all we’ve ever wanted?
My beautiful home, the market so handy,
your place at the gate, our hope of grandsons?
Wait! I’m hot and thirsty, out of breath,
Reminds me of those desert days—
the dusty road, the heat
my sweaty body, my sore feet.
Where are we going? I’ve had enough of traveling!
I refuse to take another step. Turn back
to everything I own, have ever wanted, loved.
What? Is that smoke on the horizon?
Are those flames? My house, my dreams
my things—all I’ve ever lived for!
My beloved Sod—
VN – 2008
The implied question I ask myself—and the reader—through the poem is, could it be that my life is also too bound up in earthly things—my possessions, position, lifestyle, home? It’s a question that occurs to me again as I see people forced to leave their homes in real life.
It also reminds me that God will someday pass our lives through a real fire test (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). If all we’ve put our faith and hope in is our physical life on earth with all its accessories (including our houses, things, lifestyle, position, career) they will burn up then, even if they last through this life.
Let’s be sure we invest our time and talents in things that are inflammable. What would you suggest those things might be?