Keith starts the fire about a half hour before we need it, stacking one inch square split pieces of wood in an open crisscross pattern. The flame is often three feet high and roaring. Do you think that is when we cook? No, not unless you want scorched raw meat. The fire must burn down to the point that the flames are gone and all that is left are red coals. Now it’s time to cook. That inch or two of quiet embers is far hotter than a three foot high roar.
He opens the folding grill over them to burn it clean, and places the meat of the night six to ten inches above the heat, sometimes over to the side if, as is the case with chicken, we need to make sure it gets done all the way through before the outside chars.
Children look at the two fires and it seems totally counterintuitive to them. Surely the bright high flames make the hotter fire and the softly glowing embers the coolest. Then they hold their hands out and discover their mistake.
Babes in the Lord can make the same mistake about the faith of others. Surely the loud showy faith is the real one. Surely the person who shouts amen and holds up his hands is more passionate about his love of God than the member who sits and quietly listens or bows his head. I have lost count of the number of young people I have heard say they admired someone’s faith when it was the former type and not the latter. The loud faith may well be just as sincere as the quiet, but if that’s all you look for, you will miss some of the best advice, the best encouragement, and the best examples of resilient faith in a life of trial that ever sat in front of you—or behind you, or even right next to you on the pew.
You are smart to look for help and encouragement in another’s faith. Just be smart about the signs you judge it by. Loud might just as easily be hot air as roaring fire.
Take away from me the noise of your songs; for I will not hear the melody of your viols. But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Amos 5:23-24