(Image courtesy of https://ncptt.nps.gov.)

Yesterday, I ran some errands on our chilly day off of school.  Granted, chilly to Tennesseans is not the same kind of chilly to Wisconsinites; nonetheless, school was cancelled yesterday due to the frigid drop of temperature to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (above zero).

Still, 20 degrees is pretty cold no matter where you live.  And if you lived in the house I lived in, you would experience this cold 24/7, not just when you were outside.  This is mostly due to
the fact that I don't like paying a high gas bill and slightly to the fact that the house I'm living in is not built for the winter.  (Don't get me wrong; I'm very thankful to have a house at all, yet a house more insulated - like the ones in Wisconsin - would be a little bit more to my liking....)

After I got home from whatever I was doing, I came home and decided to warm up.

While most people go inside to warm up, I decided to stay outside and build a fire to save money.  I took a picture and "snapchatted" the experience to some friends using my cell phone:

As I was warming myself by the fire, staring into the hot coals underneath the logs, I remembered back to my childhood.  I loved fire when I was a kid.  I was fascinated by it, as many children are.  I'm sure my mom and dad told me many times not to play with fire, but I couldn't help it.  Any time there was a fire, I had to play with it.  I remember often holding a stick in the flames until the tip started on fire, then running around, pretending I was a train, using the smoke at the end of my stick as a smoke stack.

When I got a little older, my brother and I made outdoor fireplaces with bricks and rocks in the backyard.  We had a lot of fun with them and a few scars to prove that fire is dangerous.

My fascination with fire didn't end when I reached adulthood, though.  I still love fire.  The bright, hot coals producing flames that lick and melt wood, plastic, rubber, and even metal - it's an awesome spectacle.

As I was sitting by the fire I made yesterday, I got caught staring into the heart of it, and it amazed me how the wood would disappear before my very eyes in bright colors, producing heat.  As I stared at this phenomenon, a thought struck me: I can see and feel the physical effects of fire - the colors, the heat, the disappearing of fuel - but I cannot see the chemical changes in the atoms that are causing the physical effects.  It is impossible to see atoms with the naked eye, let alone see electrons move and elements change.  There is a separation between what I can see, feel, taste, touch, and hear (the physical) and the splitting of atoms and sharing of electrons (the chemical).  I know the chemical changes are taking place, but I cannot see them.

What a beautiful picture of how God works in our world.  We can only sense the physical effects of God - miracles, changed lives, answered prayers - but the spiritual world is what is causing them.  Just like the chemical changes in a fire are unseen to us, so the spiritual aspect is often unseen to us in the physical world.

What I'm getting at is this: We cannot see or even begin to guess at the number of things God is doing in the unseen world; nevertheless, they are things that take direct affect in the physical world.  Do not be so quick to think that God is not hearing your prayers or working miracles or changing hearts just because you cannot see it happening.  God is completely spiritual; He is not limited by the physical laws you and I are subject to on this earth.  God is at work at all times; nothing happens without His knowledge.  Not even the little sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge (Matthew 10:29).

Let us then trust in God and not in our own understanding, as Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us.  That is what He asks us to do; follow Him with trust, like that of a child following his daddy.

May your fire burn before all men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven!  (Matthew 5:16).