‘Smoldering….smoke…it may be something….nope. NOT AGAIN…I feel like I tried this twenty times already and I just can’t get it to start.’ This was going through my head that night as I tried to start the fire in order to cook my noodles. All I could get was smoke mockingly dance away into the night sky as the lit matches fizzled into black cinders. My frustration grew with every wasted match and the building brush and trash on my fire pit. I’ve watched the nationals do it over and over…every time a little match and a little poof of wind from their mouth created a fire that blazed brightly into the darkness. They cook everything over the fire…from the sweet potatoes and the greens to perfect rice which even in the cooker is sometimes challenging. All I wanted was to cook my noodles…but the fire would not cooperate…or maybe it was just the operator. Whenever I would blow on the glowing embers, the yellow color changed into black nothingness and the start of smoke finalized the death of my efforts. I threw down the small branches grasped tightly in my hand next to the pit and stomped angrily over to where my husband was sitting.
“Hey…please, please start this stupid fire for me. I’ve been trying, and I can’t do it!” I revealed my seething frustration with a sharp sigh.
“You don’t know how to start a fire? That’s funny,” he replied with a sarcastic smirk.
I thrusted the matches into his hand, so ready to rid myself of the futile task. I stormed to the pile of branches as he calmly walked over and squatted near the fire pit. He took one match and struck it against the box, letting the flame kindle before maneuvering it under the pile of sticks. Then effortlessly, he slowly blew against the fire as the flames began to crawl above the brush and reveal their yellow and red brilliance against the black sky. My rage faded like the rising smoke as the flickering colors captivated my thoughts. I turned to my quiet husband as he continued to add branches to the fire, keeping it alive and growing.
“How did you do that?” I asked in amazement.
“I don’t know…I just know how to do it.” He smiled at me as we both enjoyed the warmth of his success envelope us.
I kept on trying to keep the flame alive by blowing on it but in my ineptness I kept on blowing it out…and blowing my chances of eating. Letting someone who knew what they were doing was the only thing I could do. Although I wanted to prove that I could do something everyone around me could, I had to admit that I was unable to and allow my husband who grew up in the village making fires do the task.
Sometimes in life, the pressure is on us not to blow it…not to mess up…to have everything in a certain way. Yet in some circumstances you can not prepare and all your efforts of success seem to die out into the darkness around you. Frustration and irritation grow as life around you seems to crumble. You finally look up and say, “God, here, you take it and try to fix it.” He gently takes control of our lives and proves to us His Almighty Power as we marvel at the outcome of His hand. If we only gave God the matches in the first place and let Him start the fire instead of trying to prove success in our own strength. He creates and sustains life, He knows the situations we will face in our lives because He gives those as well. God will never blow it- He never makes mistakes. He can only take our smoldering troubles and turn them into a beauty that reflects His magnificent glory. We just need to trust Him with the matches and surrender our efforts into His all-sufficient Hands.