From Wanda’s pen:
Paper Peels in the Pizza Oven
Today was meant to be a relaxing day at home. I’ve done all the necessary chores (washing, cleaning, polishing etc.) and thought to do a bit of tidying up in the little room that became a bit of a storage room after our conference in June. This soon progressed to include throwing out of old documentation and cleaning out of files from the filing cabinet.
The pile of thrown out personal documents grew and I didn’t think it was wise to just put them in the rubbish. I remembered we had a pizza oven outside. Yes! I would burn them in the pizza oven! It wasn’t long until a rather nice fire was going (with the help of some firelighters). [See I paid attention when my dad lit the ‘braai’ all those years ago.J]
It was really windy and rained frequently during the day but strangely the rain subsided for this occasion. As I was watching the papers burn and adding to the fire as necessary, I noticed something strange. Some of the piled up papers on top of the burning ones stopped burning even though the ones on the side were still burning well. I lifted the layered ones up and almost immediately they caught fire again. The wind got hold of them and lifted them into another direction and the same ones caught fire again. I thought “again? But they were already burning, almost burnt out..?” A few seconds later the same happened again; re-ignition of ones almost burnt out (big flames), slowing down and only then turn into ash. The seemingly “burning ones” burnt again and again when they got moved and peeled.
Almost mesmerised, I had to see this again; so I loaded the paper on in a pile-formation, then watched how the fire burns them layer by layer; peeling them bit by bit when lifted or moved in another direction; even though they looked like ashes; totally burnt up, they were re-ignited when the wind blew them (not just a little, with big flames).
This made me think. How can paper burn doubly as hot when moved and peeled when it looked like there was nothing left to burn? And why is this the case anyway… it’s almost illogical.
A scripture came to mind: 2 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV)
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
And this is what I’ve learnt from this scripture:
‘But we all with open face’ means that we all who have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, being rid of the ceremonial law/veil
‘Beholding as in a glass’ means looking with the eyes of faith at the gospel as opposed to only seeing the law
‘the glory of the Lord’ – Jesus the Christ; not His human nature but His divine nature
‘changed into the same image’ – the divine image in the first man was defaced by sin but Christ changed this, regenerated it (being based in righteousness and holiness) is shown in acts of grace
‘from glory to glory’ – quoted from commentary: “It is he that takes off the veil from the heart, that we may, with open face unveiled, behold all this glory; it is he that regenerates, stamps the image of Christ, and conforms the soul to his likeness; it is he that gradually carries on the work of grace upon the soul, increases faith, enlarges the views of the glory of Christ, and the spiritual light, knowledge, and experience of the saints, and will perfect all that which concerns them; will quicken their mortal bodies, and make them like to Christ;”
‘by the Spirit of the Lord’ – by the power of the Spirit of Yahweh, Who is God.
How does this scripture apply to us in our daily lives?
As we (the paper) get to burn in the pizza oven (also known as ‘the Refiner’s Fire’ – refer Malachi) during our trials and even just in everyday life at work and with relationships, we are being changed and regenerated into His image through His Holy Spirit. He imparts into us His grace and removes the veils from our hearts in the process. Slowly, over time, He gives us His likeness; He increases our faith, enlarges our views of the glory (and may I add, “mysteries”) of Christ. He reveals more about His Light and knowledge all whilst healing us and quickening our bodies! It’s amazing, who knew all of this happens during a trial? No wonder James says “Count it all as joy when you fall into various trials…” (James 1:2-8 NKJV).
Friends, family; no matter what trial you may find yourself in currently and no matter how the fire burns around you or how the wind blows in, around or through you, know this:
Even in your darkest moment, when you think you are burnt to a cinder and there is no hope left, be encouraged that even in the natural, with what is seemingly lost already (the ash), and will reignite when the right amount of oxygen is blown through it!
Fun Fact: This is a chemical process called ‘combustion’ which leaves the original substance in a totally different form once this process is completed. Paper becomes ash. It looks differently and can now be used/applied for something totally different [e.g. deter garden pests by using wood ashes; sprinkled lightly throughout the garden bed, wood ashes repel maggots, aphids, slugs, snails, and cutworms.]
Likewise, our God is well able to use that very dark moment and reignite it to change your character, how you look (inside) and you function (deeper into Him). You WILL get through this and through Him your test will become your testimony. One day you will be able to help many others by being an encouragement to them.
God will give you His beauty for your ashes; this is truly a divine exchange.