Standing Where Fire Has Been
Grace is divine affection rolling in plenteousness toward the shores of
human need. (Ben Jowett)
Thomas Jefferson will always be recognized for his vision; he saw a day in which the spread of freedom and democracy would expand and enlarge itself from “sea to shining sea.” It was a similar vision that inspired Eero Saarinen to design the Saint Louis Arch, a 630 foot stainless steel masterpiece—which is known as the Gateway to the West. And what an awesome experience it is to look at the horizon through the observation windows at the top of this modern marvel of engineering.
The arch is a memorial to the spirit of faith and courage the early pioneers embraced when they traveled west seeking a land that offered them the hope of a prosperous new beginning. They weathered a multitude of adversities pursuing their dreams. One group of pioneers made their way across one of the central states to a distant place that had been opened for homesteading. They traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was necessarily slow and difficult. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely, and the fire was approaching toward them rapidly. They had crossed a river the day before, but it would be impossible to go back before the flames would be upon them. One man understood their peril and knew what they had to do. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them. The settlers set the grass on fire and the flames began racing towards the east at breakneck speed. Hundreds of acres of prairie grass were consumed by the flames in a short time and the whole company moved back upon it. As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, "Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?" The leader replied, "My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has been!"
The flames of God’s justice engulfed Christ as He died on the cross in our place. An innocent and holy offering was given for a guilty and unrighteous people. On Him vengeance fell. The fires of judgment burned themselves out on Him. We are safe in Jesus. “Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving” (A.W. Tozer).