Don’t Build Your Own Fire – Lynne Modranski
10 Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? That person may walk in the dark and have no light. Then let him trust in the Lord and yet depend on his God. 11 But instead, some of you want to light your own fires and make your own light. So, go, walk in the light of your fires, and trust your own light to guide you. But this is what you will receive from me: You will lie down in a place of pain. Isaiah 50:10-11 (NCV)
By the time a child turns two, good parents begin to encourage her to do things on her own. Pick up your toys. Can you put your socks on by yourself? Each week brings a new milestone, a step toward independence. I grew up on a farm with plenty of chores and odd jobs. I watched small children and worked in the garden on my own before I turned thirteen. My own daughters were self-sufficient by the time they hit high school.
In a world where employers find hiring dependable employees a challenge, folks admire my family’s push for self-discipline. We’re the kind you can count on to get a job done. However, in the spiritual world, these few verses from Isaiah turn this do-it-yourself mentality upside down.
Isaiah forces me to ask, “Do I light my own fires and brighten my own path?” My early learned self-sufficiency gives you a hint at the answer. And while the days I follow Christ’s light fall closer together than before, my strong, independent flesh prefers to take the lead and run ahead of God more often than I’d like to admit.
Human perspective wonders, “Why shouldn’t I light my own fire? And do I really need God for something as basic as lighting a torch?” These tasks seem so basic, too trivial for Jesus. So we march out on our own. I seldom think to consult my heavenly Father about dinner or my route to church. I don’t need to bother a very busy omnipotent Creator with these mundane details. Do I?
Isaiah seems to think I do. Years ago I began to let God light some of my fires. Entering interstates and busy highways creates a challenge for me. I prefer plenty of space between vehicles, so I started to pray for great gaps as I entered major roadways. Amazingly enough, now I never have to fight traffic. My answered highway prayers demonstrate the truth God revealed to Isaiah; the Almighty wants to take care of every detail of my life.
Since I started trusting Him with some of the fires, my Heavenly Father has shown me where to find lost things and helped me plan dinner. He goes shopping with me and advises me as I decide whether I should buy that three-dollar t-shirt. And just as I begin to give God a few fires, Isaiah takes this message of trusting a step further. When I choose to take care of the everyday things, light my own fires, without consulting my Heavenly Father first, I set myself up for pain. I never want my prayer time to become full of legalism, but to avoid the torment that Isaiah says comes from self-reliance, I need to submit to the Savior on the most basic level. We experience enough hardship courtesy of life. It’s foolishness to pile on more because we refuse to trust God with the smallest detail.
So from this day forward, I plan to give God the matches. He can take care of the fires. I want Him to light my way and make the final decision regarding my most minute plans. Because with God in charge, when I lie down, I can truly rest!
Lynne Modranski is an author, speaker, and Biblical life coach with a passion for helping others find their full potential in Jesus Christ. With a gift for seeing Yahweh in the smallest details, Lynne enjoys sharing her aha moments with others. Mother to three and grandmother to four, Lynne ministers with her husband at Sycamore Tree Church in Northern West Virginia. There she leads worship and facilitates two Bible studies each week.