Have you ever seen the “Magic Trick” of lighting a candle by holding a lighter to its smoke? If you haven’t, here’s a short video.
This is often touted as magic, but it is actually simple science. When you light a candle, the heat from the flame vaporizes the candle wax.
This wax is turned into heat and light. When you blow out the candle, soot and debris from the flame make up the smoke, but there is also some of this vaporized wax left in the air. This only lasts for a short time, but if you hold a flame to that vaporized wax, you can reignite it. This flame will then travel down the column of wax vapor until it reaches the wick. There it will re-light the candle.
This is a very common experiment that TV scientists like to show to amaze their audience. I’ve seen it so many times, which is probably why it so readily came to mind when I was reading the first reading for next Sunday.
In the book of Jeremiah, the author is speaking to the struggle of loving God. He remarks that he really wants to love God, but the world laughs at him and mocks him for it. This angers him and makes him no longer want to speak about God. But just when he comes to the peak of the anger and seems to be giving up, he writes:
I say to myself, I will not mention him,
I will speak in his name no more.
But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.
- Jeremiah 20:9
It is so easy to get frustrated by the demands of Christianity. It is so easy to feel discouraged because the world tells us a different message. That flame inside of us goes out because we don’t want to fight anymore. But God’s love, his power, his presence, burns SO BRIGHT and SO HOT that it is impossible to keep that fire out forever. Just like with the candle experiment, the white hot flame of His love will re-light our flame over and over again. It will re-light the tiny fragments left of our faith, and when it does, that fire can burn so strong!
There have been many times in my life where I have felt so overwhelmed, so run down. God was either the farthest from my mind, or I was angry with Him and yelling at Him in my prayers. But then, after fighting against Him for so long, I just felt engulfed in His love. He overwhelmed me so much. There was nothing I could do, and after feeling it, I’m glad I couldn’t stop it.
Jeremiah captures these very real emotions so beautifully. We are all in different places. Maybe you have this enormous fire burning inside of you that you are overwhelmed by His love. Maybe you feel your flame is out and that it has been out for too long. Maybe you’re angry and are not wanting to even think about Him. No matter where you are, the important thing to remember is that HIS FLAME IS STILL BURNING. It is burning hotter than 1,000 suns! You’re never too far into the darkness that He can’t reignite that flame inside of you. All of us are made to love God. We are made to burn with that passion for our Lord. It can be overwhelming, but we are all called to this love.
As we go about this week, I hope you will pray for God to light this fire within you. If it helps, here is a link to a song that captures this idea well. Listen to it and let his overwhelming love consume you from the inside out.