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God in the Fire
By Donna Haug

Camping is an activity I have learned to enjoy since my husband, Mark, came into my life. In his opinion, my growing up years were severely deprived.

Ever since my first "roughing it" experience with the youth group from our church, I have come to actually enjoy sleeping on the hard ground, baring it in the wild while answering nature's call, and bathing in a swimming suit in the lake. Well, maybe not "enjoy" exactly, but I am more then willing to put up with these minor inconveniences just to bask in my favorite part of camping-the campfire.

There is something about sitting around a nice, blazing fire on a fold-up lawn chair, staring in fascination at the flames as they flicker and change from blue to red, orange and yellow. Roasting marshmallows (which usually means burning the outside to a crisp), singing old songs that seem to be reserved for just such occasions, and the telling of tales that tend to grow each time they are told-these are all memory nuggets that we have tried to bury deep into the childhood experiences of our eager offspring.

Once the children have been tucked, for the last time, back into their sleeping bags, the adults linger around the fire till all that remains are the glowing hot coals, with the reds and blacks and yellows dancing back and forth. The conversations we have had around campfires are some of my most treasured memories.

What is it that makes us more willing to "bare our souls" around a fire? Is it the absence of all the busy distractions of our everyday life? Is it the fact that as we stare into the ever-changing flames, we do not actually have to look each other in the eye?

Can you imagine the conversations that the children of Israel must have had in front of their tents as they gazed at the pillar of fire? I am sure they must have sung songs (maybe even Miriam's song?) and told, over and over, the story of their deliverance from Egypt. As the 40 years of their wandering dragged on, I imagine there were nights that the older generation bared their souls to the younger; confessing what happened when they disobeyed the Lord.

Personally, I cannot imagine living in a tent for 40 years. I think I might even tire of staring into that pillar of fire after that long! However, I can only imagine the memories that must have come flooding back every time the Israelites made a fire after settling down in their new land. They were reminded of God's eternal presence, how He was always faithful to guide them, and how He supplied their every need.

The next time you sit around a campfire, with your legs burning and your back freezing, think about how awesome your God is! He will always be with you. He will direct your footsteps if you will follow Him, and He will supply your EVERY need!
Donna Haug is a missionary wife and mother who loves to write. She has spent much of her life overseas. As a result, her writings have a 'down to earth' quality to them and quite often an international bent. You can check out the latest on the Haugs at www.thehaugs.com