â€śWeâ€™re here,â€ť Dad said. It was Sunday afternoon, and we were on another family outing. I was around eleven and my three sisters ranged from six to nine years of age. Everyone piled out of the car onto the desert floor, including our parents, John and Helen. It was a mild, pic-turesque day in Arizona, and lunch was to be roasted weenies!
â€śWe need to build a campfire to roast the weenies, and we need fuel for the fire,â€ť began our Dad, as he removed a small shovel from the trunk.
As he knelt to dig a small pit, he said, â€śIâ€™ll teach you girls how to start this fire without a match!â€ť
We were all ears, and I was eager to see how he would perform his feat.
â€śWe need dry grass for tinder, twigs for kindling, wood to put on top that will burn easily, and some bigger sticks that will keep burning so we can cook. In addition, we need some rocks to put around this pit to keep the fire under control. We donâ€™t want to start a wildfire.â€ť The vegetation was sparse and there was little concern, yet he wanted to teach us survival skills and safety protocols.
We all listened with labored patience, because we had already learned how to construct a campfire in girlsâ€™ clubs. Yet, we adored our father, and gave him our rapt attention.
When he said, â€śGo!â€ť we joyfully raced out into the desert to find all of the necessary elements he described. Dad continued to carefully dig, and Mom noticed the smug, hidden grin on his face. All the activity turned into a major production as we came running back, each with our own special find. â€śThatâ€™s good, honey, but we need some more,â€ť he di-rected, and so we hurried back to the desert and hunted for the next treasure.
He urged and cheered us on for about half an hour until enough material was on hand. The suspense mounted as he defined the basics of building a fire, of first laying out the grass, and methodically placing each twig, â€śjust so.â€ť My eyes were glued to the process while he per-formed each step and explained everything in careful detail, because he was our beloved father.
Finally, he was ready! However, he did a curious thing. He took a ri-fle shell from his pocket, delicately removed the bullet with his knife, and gingerly poured the gunpowder from the shell casing onto the tee-pee-shaped structure. Casually, he stood to take a break and light a ciga-rette. He made small talk while we anxiously waited to see how he would start the fire. â€śAre you girls hungry?â€ť he teased, knowing we had worked up an appetite.
â€śYes,â€ť we shrieked in unison.
â€śOkay, letâ€™s get this fire started.â€ť We watched with unsuspecting awe when he bent over the fire pit and ignited it by simply touching the gunpowder with the tip of his cigarette. The fire blazed in mere seconds. His familiar ornery smile appeared openly as our chagrin set in.
â€śAh Dad,â€ť we whined, â€śWe thought you were going to rub two sticks together.â€ť Then we giggled, somewhat disappointed. All of us had fallen for his fantastic scheme â€śhook, line, and sinker.â€ť Then everyone, including our mom, knew Dad already had his so-called picnic. He feast-ed on every second of our dismay.
â€śHelen, where are those wieners?â€ť he howled.
â€śRight here.â€ť She beamed. â€śWe need some sticks to roast the wee-nies on.â€ť
Dad laughed outright with infectious glee. â€śCome on girls, letâ€™s go cut those sticks.â€ť We bounded after him while Mom kept a watchful eye on the fire.
We wanted so much to please Dad on that family outing, and the materials we searched for were â€śtreasures.â€ť Why? Our daddy was giving us his undivided attention, and we wanted to spend time with him. What great fun!
In comparison, our heavenly Father is very pleased when we spend time with Him. He always gives us His undivided attention, because He loves us much more than an earthly father. His wisdom is like buried treasure, and oh, how He wants us to search for it. [Wisdom] is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her (Proverbs 3:15 NASB).
Whatâ€™s more, our dad demonstrated love when he taught us to avoid starting wildfires. In a similar fashion, our Lord wants us to live a rich and abundant life without â€świldfiresâ€ť that can so easily get out of control.
â€śWildfiresâ€ť are circumstances that we set in motion by making wrong choices, often made out of ignorance, or an attitude of pride. Whatever the reason, the aftermath can be long and painful. By follow-ing Godâ€™s heart and precepts, â€świldfiresâ€ť can be avoided. If you pursue wisdom, your life will change and you will experience many benefits that exceed your wildest imagination. God promises!
Although he wasnâ€™t perfect, my sisters and I delighted in our earthly father. We relied on him for enjoyment and gladly combed the desert floor to find the elements needed to build a fire.
It is not so surprising that your heavenly Father desires you to de-light in him much the same way? The apostle Paul referred to the Lord as the â€śperfect Daddy,â€ť even for those who have no earthly father. God will adopt you into his family if you ask him.
As you begin your search for wisdom, become like a little child, ea-gerly running around in the desert searching for treasure. You will learn the lessons that your heavenly Father has prepared. So, gather the tinder, kindling, and wood; dig the pit, surround it with stones, and build your â€śbonfire.â€ť
Our family did not learn to apply the precepts of wisdom until years after our life turned upside down. Even though we sought advice in uncertain times, our life became a calamity.