When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Smoke from a distant wild fire settles over the dry, brown land like a grey,wool blanket.

Air is heavy, unfit to breathe. Stuck indoors, I’m disappointed. But I don’t complain.

I’d rather have smoke than flames.

I remember the wild fire that lit up the landscape of Colorado this past June. I sat glued to the news, watching the fire rage like a mad man, destroying 500 homes. timber, and two souls in its path.

I once lived in Colorado. Tears accompanied my prayers for friends who packed suitcases and waited, ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

To me, their homes were more than brick and wood. We sat together in their homes, celebrating birthdays, baby showers, holidays.

Memories were made and friendships born in those homes.

Would everything go up in smoke?

While I waited for news, the ancient question spewed from my lips, “God, why are you allowing this? My friends are good people.”

I know that “God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God.” (Romans 8:28)

But NOT THIS….purification by fire.

Praise God, my friends’ homes were spared. But the land, not far from where they live, was scorched and blackened like a war zone.

Recently, I heard about another fire in Mexico.

The family lost everything they owned. And they owned very little.

Before it happened, my son had returned from a mission trip and told me about the generous Mexican woman. She had taken the little money she had to prepare platters of fresh tamales for the church youth group who were working at a nearby church.

And this was her reward?

Instead of receiving a blessing, her house burned down?

The same question slithers like a serpent and whispers in my ear. Why?

Why did God allow this to happen?

It’s a question I ask when life doesn’t seem fair.

When good things happen, the question doesn’t enter my mind.

What is good?

Dying on the cross? Not good, but that’s how Christ paid the penalty for my sins.

Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers? Not good, but God meant it for good.

A home destroyed by fire? Not good, but even now, God is orchestrating His church to love this family in Mexico and help restore their possessions.

How can my earth-bound finite mind comprehend the good that will come to this woman and her family? Not just a new home, but God’s good purposes that I can’t see.

So rather than be God’s fair weather friend...only praising Him when “good things happen.”

I shall repent in dust and ashes like Job, “You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I–and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.’ “ (Job 42:3)

With an attitude of thanksgiving, I will wait patiently for the winds to shift, blow away the smoke, and bring blue skies again.

Author: Karen Foster

I'd like to say I've changed, but after decades of living, I still have the same four passions. My relationship with Jesus, spending time with family, attending live theater, and writing devotions & first-person stories about a loving, faithful God who reveals Himself in our every day circumstances.

13 thoughts on “When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

  1. We get a lot of smoke in the summer – not fun! Love your analogy with the fires and trials. Wait for the smoke to shift and the sun to come out again. I’m always thankful for the trials AFTER I go through them – at least for the trials where I’ve waited on God enough to grow through them. The fruit of the Spirit is worth it. it’s those trials I stew over and never accept that trip me up.


    1. Conditions change, and we may not be able to control them. But we can control our attitude and response. The quicker we learn that lesson, the better. Good hearing from you Barb!


  2. “Fair weather friend” is something I have to be on guard against…I’m so quick to spend time with Him and praise Him when things are flowing nicely in my life. When those storms come, I have to dig deep to keep from complaining and grumbling, just like those Israelites! Your words hit very close to home, as always 🙂


    1. Well, either way, it sounds like you’re clinging to God regardless of your circumstances. And that’s a good thing. When I feel bad about being a fair weather friend, I try to get the focus off me and praise God that “If we are faithful, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Tim. 2:13


  3. Thanks for the reminder….lots of smoke up in Northwest Montana right now also. I love how all the things we are given can be metaphors for our spiritual lives. Keep up the positive attitude…God bless!


    1. Most humans have tunnel vision. We only see the here and now. I think we need to start praying that God gives us eyes to see, rather than ask Him to change our circumstances.


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