This year, no fire (so far) has threatened my hometown, but we have been affected by the smoke caused by those throughout the state. In fact, places as far away as Hawaii and Japan have experienced the smoke caused by the fires in the U.S. West. And smoke is insidiously dangerous.
So even though many of us may not be caught in the direct path of a fire, we are still vulnerable to the unhealthy conditions that arise from it.
There are other “fires” raging around us, our nation, and the world, and each is producing its own lethal smoke. And just as we need to take precautions to keep ourselves safe and healthy from the smoke produced by the fires, so do we have to be vigilant and proactive to keep ourselves from risk in these other areas.
For instance, the “smoke” from the coronavirus is creating stress, anxiety, and depression; the “smoke” from someone’s anger has stimulated unrest and distrust, just to name a couple.
To keep ourselves healthy in these situations, sometimes we need to seek counseling or financial assistance. At times we need to remove ourselves from situations while at other times we need to be proactive and get involved.
Of course, our first response in these “smoky” situations should always be to turn to God who is our sustainer.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:7
However, there is a flip-side to these scenarios which is also true: Smoke from someone's kindness can produce hope, and the smoke of a selfless act can save a life.
God has put us and others here to be his hands and feet on earth. There are physical, mental, and emotional things we can do for ourselves and others, and that others can do for us, during these difficult times.
So we would be wise to remember that the “smoke” from any of our actions and words (positive or negative) creates a ripple effect, impacting those around us and possibly people we may not even know.
I would like to leave you with a song by Matthew West. It came out in 2014, but once again, it has a message for today.