It had been a dry, sunny day with a gentle breeze, and everything was going on smoothly in the log hut. The small patch of corn in front had just been gathered.
As the owners of the land gazed contentedly over the long, waving prairie grass for some miles, they looked upon their lot in life with undisguised satisfaction. After an unusually hot day, the breeze had freshened.
Suddenly a long, dark cloud was seen upon the horizon, followed almost immediately by a lurid glare. Although it was miles and miles away from the little settlement, it was none the less horrifying to the inhabitants, who, even if they had never seen it before, could not mistake the awful sight. With anxious looks the word went around, "The prairie's on fire!" Yes, there it was, bearing down upon them, coming right in their direction.
All soon saw that with such a wind-which had now increased to almost a gale-and with grass and prairie shrubs very dry by the day's hot sun, their narrow fire break was simply useless before such a furious and galloping fire-little short of a roaring furnace coming along at ten to fifteen miles an hour. What could stem it? Nothing-simply nothing. Oh, that you could just be within half a mile of it, and see the roaring blaze sweeping along, and get a view of the flying multitude going before it-a run for life, indeed.
You would never forget the scene. Buffalo, antelope, and every four-footed animal-a mixed mob-a terror-stricken crowd, all realizing the value of life in the face of certain death. To prey upon each other never entered their heads in the face of such a mighty foe. No time to think; hardly time to breathe.
Those who live in the regions of the wild prairies know well that there is only one way, only one means of escape from the face of the awful foe we have just been describing. Is it so? Can a man be delivered from those awful prairie fires?
Yes, in this way. A man simply takes a match and lights the long, dry grass at his feet. Swiftly, this new fire flies ahead, consuming all before it. Before the great fire comes up, he just walks on to the blackened ground, where all has already been consumed. He is safe, quite safe. When the fire comes up to this spot, it finds nothing left to consume, and so it cannot come near him, it cannot touch him. With him, perhaps thousands of poor, breathless animals rush to the spot and stand safe; for the fire having gone over that place once, cannot do so again. So now you understand the phrase, "Stand where the fire has been."
This is but a poor picture of the Great Day when the terrible fire of God's wrath comes. Yes, and it is soon coming along. You may well pity the one who is not then "standing where the fire has been."
It is simple for a man to take a match and light the grass ahead of him, and then stand where the fire has been. Similarly, it is simple to shelter under the death of Jesus Christ. God spent the fire of his judgment on His beloved Son as He hung on Calvary's cross. He has pledged a present and eternal security to any who will take their place in Him, take refuge in the One who bore on the Cross the wrath of God for sinners.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
I said it is "simple" to trust Christ and shelter beneath His precious blood. But only by the Holy Spirit can we appropriate this work of Christ on our behalf. Yet the responsibility is yours if you now neglect this salvation, for there remains but one alternative for you, and that is to take your place in the condemned crowd who will be left to endure the wrath of God for all eternity in the lake of fire.
Think! If God's wrath has fallen upon Christ, it can never again fall upon those who come to Christ for pardon. Friend, do "stand where the fire has been," and then all you have to do is to praise God for having permitted His fiery judgment to pass over and consume Another . . . to love Him . . . to live for Him . . . who thus took your place and died in your stead.