If you have been burned or even believe that God is burning you, you must decide what do after the fire. What will you have besides ashes?

You cannot return to live in the charred shell of a burned out house.

If there is an opportunity for God to work, good can happen in the wake of great suffering and loss. How far reaching is the opportunity for God to show His love in new ways? 

In the message of judgment, the Lord speaks to Israel about the fire and flood that they will face.

Isaiah 43:
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

The flood is very real. The flames burn hot. But this is not the end of the story. God wants us to hear the good news that trumpets into our darkness. The God of flood and fire is not heartless. This loving Judge has mercy in His court.

Hebrews 4:
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Next door to our church building stood a bakery that served the community for decades. When it no longer served a purpose and stood as a vacant memory, an arsonist set fire to it. Still the building stood after the fire. It no longer had any usefulness and became a neighbourhood hazard.

A couple years later a second fire blazed through the remains, again at the hand of an arsonist. The bulldozers finally came and razed it to the ground.

Today, an empty lot is all that remains. It is the ground that we have held some events on. It is ready for new purposes. Perhaps someone will build on it again, maybe even us. The place that once baked bread is gone, but now a new bakery is beginning a few doors down.

If that is just the natural order of things, then Jesus brings about a supernatural order where anything built for eternity remains beyond the generations. If you have been through the fire, allow God to build something eternal in place of that which has been lost.

I have an ancestor who was burned at the stake in England for his work in Bible translation. When I am in eternity and get to meet the saints who have died and live again, I am going to look for John Rogers. I am going to ask him, "John, did you get burned?" I have this suspicion that he will reply, "They burned me at the stake, but I did not get burned. I don't even smell like smoke."

What will you do after the fire? Will you remain in the ashes or look to God for a new day?