"And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of Him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke." (Isaiah 6:3-4) I am living and walking in the middle of the worst forest fire I've ever had the privilege to encounter. To where a faint nausea tugs at your stomach all the livelong day and your eyes are tired and red from being open to the smoke. I see people with hospital masks on. I mean, this is Oregon. A land known for its lush and dense forests. How can the air quality be the inverse of what a forest is supposed to provide? Let me rephrase the above. I am living in the Rogue Valley about two hours from the fire itself. But the smoke from said fire has infiltrated the local atmosphere and it's so bad, I hear San Francisco is suffering. If you ever wanted to stare directly into the sun, you've now got your chance. It isn't blood red (a dull orange) so I'm not thinking anything apocalyptic. It does remind me of what might happen should God decide to make His way to town. While Jesus walked the earth, there were times He went unnoticed. Times, also where He didn't want to be noticed but those who knew couldn't keep their mouth shut in spite of His warning to do so. When He was welcomed to Jerusalem, the Pharisees tried to snuff out the shouts and cries of His disciples in praising Him, to which He responded that "the stones would immediately cry out." (Luke 19:40) So great was the atmosphere of praise and worship and adulation. But think about the Father. All Jesus did on Earth was in order to herald Him. God the Father. The Father is someone we cannot wrap our mind around. The moment Isaiah sees "the Lord of hosts", he says "Woe is me! For I am undone" (Isaiah 6:4). He sees his frailty and faultiness. I can imagine it would have been hard to breathe in such an environment. Think about living on the sun. Walking through a forest on fire--or the valley downwind, don't hold a candle to the surface of the sun. And God is hotter than that.
"Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptable with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:28-29, emphasis mine) Metaphorically, of course.
I write from the relatively comfortable and air conditioned coffee shop in my mall. The presence of the smoke isn't in here yet. And I'm sure I'm not alone when all I want is for this whole thing to blow over. A little queasiness and eye discomfort is nothing compared to life-altering respiratory problems and the threat of death if you're at ground zero. The air quality index is forecast at 200 for tomorrow. And I don't mean to make light of this serious event by metaphorically comparing it to God and His presence. I've just never encountered something so dramatic as this. And the verse from Isaiah is the only scripture to which I could tie it so far as parallel. A little rain would be nice. Then again, flooding's not good either. God bless everyone involved and everyone affected.
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:9)