Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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Where There’s Smoke…

Posted by elainemcooper on September 14, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Driving by a popular coffee shop the other day, I noticed an area where smoke was coming up from the ground nearby. A lot of smoke.

The mulch is on fire!

Since the Midwest has been in a drought for sometime, I was concerned about the drier than normal conditions—along with the increasing smoke and its close proximity to the restaurant and the public in general.

I pulled my car into a parking spot and hurried into the store.

“There’s a fire in the mulch over there.”

The friendly cashier smiled and said, “I know. It’s under control.”

“It’s under control?” My face must have looked as shocked as I felt.

He continued with his big grin. “Yes, it’s under control.”

I glanced at the woman he was waiting on and she gave an equally reassuring smile. “Really. It’s under control.”

My jaw dropped open and I left, too dumfounded to have an answer for these two.

Walking outside, I saw the customers sitting at the outdoor tables starting to take note of the burning mulch. The choking smoke was blowing across the patio area.

I stared at the area of concern and was horrified to see an employee carrying out a pot of water. She poured the gallon or so onto one area of the smoking mulch. It was akin to placing a small bandage onto a deep gash.

The smoke was occasionally drifting my way and I prayed my asthma wouldn’t kick in.

This is ridiculous.

As I walked back to my car, I decided I’d had enough of thinking that everything was “under control.” I called the fire department.

I didn’t stay behind to see the smiling barista assure the fire department that “everything was under control.”

I drove by the same area a few days later. You could see where the firefighters had stirred the mulch around to ensure that all the flames were out. One area was literally burned black.

How often am I blasé about things in my own life that I should be acting on—areas of danger that could explode into a dangerous blaze when I’m simply smiling and telling myself, “It’s OK. Everything is under control.”

When I’m not walking with the Spirit and exhibiting His fruits of love, joy, peace, and patience, do I just say I’m having a bad day—but it’s all good? It’s all under control?

Instead, I should be calling the 911-to-heaven hotline, getting on my knees and asking God for help. Help to put out the fires of selfishness, anger, and bitterness that at any moment can burst into raging sin.

It’s always best to be on the lookout for smoke. For where there’s smoke, there’s always the danger of fire.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter: 5:8 NIV)

2 Responses to “Where There’s Smoke…”

  1. Thanks, Elaine, for the reminder that we really aren’t “under control” on our own, anyway. I know I tend to look and see and if someone else notices a problem first because I hate to appear foolish, but when it’s too late, whose fault is it?

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