Prairie Fire

During a series of months of difficulty several years ago, Jesus brought me to this place in my imagination. Very very real to me.

I knew it as a wide sky of eternal twilight,
just after the sun evaporated behind the mountains,
a purple sky freckled with stars.

I could come here anytime.

There was calm sea of waving grass,
low rolling hills by a private sea
where I would go and meet with Him.

In my heart, this was a place of faithfulness,
a place where I could lean my spirit into His.

He was always here, sitting on the dock with His toes dangling,
ready to talk with me. Ready to listen and be my friend.
Ready to open for me His innermost.

Today I didn’t mean to go to that place,
but I closed my eyes and there it was.
Me and Dad’s oasis.

But it almost unrecognizable.

I looked down where grass should have cushioned my feet
and it was black.
No grass, no growth of any kind, not even ash.
Cracked and barren, with hot redness in the gashes.

This place of my deepest intimacy had been slain to wasteland.

He had burned it.

He had taken what was beautiful and precious to me
and set fire.

Except that He was still here,
(I could sense Him),
there was no comfort, no beauty left.
Only a earth so torched that it still glowed beneath.

I wept for a moment.
I looked around and mourned to see this precious place so utterly destroyed.
Such violence could not be love.
Was nothing sacred?

I looked for Him and found Him easily,
sensing His quietness over my left shoulder.
My Rock, my Friend, the Fire-Kindler.

I didn’t ask any questions. I didn’t need to.
I knew what this was.
The heaviness of mourning lay in my chest,
the necessary medallion of suffering
in what Love must do when it’s time to burn the prairie.

He took my hand and we stood there,
silent and together
and entirely at peace.

Wisdom had lit the match.

The fire would redeem a great many things that my eye had missed.
How good He is!
There were parasites, thorns and weeds sneaking a living,
hiding and skimming and stealing.
Brown grass strands in the green,
signaling the hints of dryness and death.
There were old, expired things
mixed foolishly with new, creative courage,
old cynicism stealing power and vigor from the field.

Be the fire hot enough, decay will surrender.

A wide countryside of fresh, perfect growth was dormant
just beneath,
waiting for fire to pave aside a new spring.

He loves this place as much as me.
He burned it to show me just how much He loves to be with me.

Fire is my friend.
The black earth will absorb tomorrow’s sun
and the seeds will germinate again.

Soon, these rolling Spirit hills will frame His precious face
not with soot, but with green.
She’s a prairie, wild and at rest,
Black today
but only today.

Tomorrow comes the green and the purple.
He burned because He knows how bright her colors will be.


The incredible image on this post is an oil painting by Louis Copt, as part of his Prairie Fire series. To see more of his work, click here:

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