A year or two ago, fire broke out across the mountain in Ridgecrest, North Carolina. The Baptist conference center is very special to my family. For all intents and purposes, it is an extension of my hometown, Black Mountain. Many Saturdays when I was growing up, my Daddy would pile my sister and me in the car to go in the bookstore, with the windy stair case that the manager let us climb up and down for a treat, and Daddy would let us pick a snack out of the vending machine. For several summers, I worked in that same bookstore during high school and college. We went to special conferences there from time to time. And also, a beautiful prayer garden was dedicated in memory of my Granddaddy, Dr. T.W. Wilson. Many meaningful experiences and important decisions have happened upon this sacred plot of land.
I was on the phone with my mom when she shushed me. She heard sirens upon sirens racing by her house. She didn’t know what on earth was going on, but it seemed like every fire engine in the town of Black Mountain had been deployed. We hung up and she set out to find out what was going on. I logged on Facebook and I quickly learned what it was: the mountain was on fire in Ridgecrest.Photo Credit: Rey Castillo
Years ago, there was a big hullabaloo about the conference center wanting to turn a cell phone tower on their land into a cross. Ridgecrest won. Every time I drive home to Black Mountain, that cross upon the mountain is what welcomes me as I ascend from the foothills to the steep, windy road. When this fire was raging at its highest, the image I kept seeing spread throughout social media was this: the cross, unscathed, by the roaring flames around it.
The life of one who has been marked by the cross and the resurrection of Christ is so much like that. When the flames rise, the cross still stands as an indestructible beacon of hope. The fires of trials and loss may come close to consuming you, but with Christ’s covering of the same protection and rescue He gave on the cross, you will never be destroyed.
Maybe you’ve got some fires burning around you. Your world’s landscape might look dreadfully crispy. It may be hard to breathe for all the ashes that are swirling in the atmosphere from your world, which seems to have fallen into destruction. But if you are covered by the shadow of the cross, you’ll find that you are still standing, not consumed by those flames.
Is the spot in history you’ve been given to stand upon up in flames right now? Fear not, dear one. Rather, cling to the cross. Put on the oxygen mask offered from the Breath of God. Keep your sturdy armor on, which can extinguish flaming arrows. And stand, supported by the arms that hung on the cross to give you strength that you never could have known otherwise. Stand firm and stand tall on your burning mountain. You can because of Jesus.
Friend, when your mountain is on fire, the cross still stands.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2