To burn through some old wood, my brother invited me to a bonfire with the promise of dinner over the fire. Little did I know I was about to learn about wet wood fires.
The afternoon clouds released a nice round of rain. Wet wood does not a fierce fire make.
“We still on for tonight?” I texted him.
“Yep, we should be good.”
Even when doused with lighter fluid, kerosene, and a sprinkle of gasoline, our fire sputtered at best. It produced more smoke than flame, our cooking window diminished, and we felt chilled sitting outside in the early fall breeze.
Wet wood does not burn well, if it burns at all.
SHOWDOWN: AHAB VERSES ELIJAH’S FIRES
Knowing that truth makes the Ahab versus Elijah showdown even better. The two had agreed on a test to prove who was real, Baal or God. For hours on end, and with extreme measures, King Ahab’s 450 prophets called to Baal, but with no response.
Elijah’s turn came that evening. He built a simple altar of twelve stones and dug a trench around it. Then, he piled on wood, a sacrificed bull cut in pieces, and more wood. He was so certain his one, true, living God would show up that he upped the ante with a shocking request: “Pour water over the offering and the wood.” He went a little more extreme with the details, asking not for four or eight but twelve large jugs of water to soak the wood and fill the trench.
Then in a humble prayer, he asked God to set the wet wood on fire. Here’s what happened:
Immediately the fire of the LORD flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench!~1 Kings 18:38 NLT
The results helped people believe Elijah knew the true, living God.
And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!”~1 Kings 18:39 NLT
We all have wet wood we’ve laid on the altar. Those water-laden sticks are our old prayers, hopes, dreams, and wishes we’ve held in our hearts for seasons.
We ask God to set those on fire even though our kindling is old and wet and is the least likely to catch fire. Even when our doubts and impatience have soaked those things we’ve laid on the altar, they are never impossible for God to answer.
Believe God can and will light those fires in His time and for His glory. In faith, give God your wet wood and let Him be God with it.
What are some wet sacrifices God has caught on fire for you in the past?
Heavenly Father, please light a fire in me and in those things my heart desires. Help me to have the faith of Elijah as I continue to pray, believing You will ignite them when it’s time for them to burn. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright 2022: Wet Wood Fires: Cynthia Mendenhall: All Rights Reserved