At first you believe it has come to destroy you, to take the things you have been building with your life and turn them into ashes. You walk the path back to your home and there in the night, through the windows of your soul you see it burning still . . . the fire. The blazing flames reaching towards you, always reaching towards you. And in the night it haunts you. What does it want with someone like me, someone who has done so little, someone who has nothing to offer but my fear, my petty possessions, my life that is but a breath.
The fire has made a mistake. It is seeking someone else.
And in the morning you fall to your knees and pray for God to take the flame away, to remove it from the mountain where it continues to burn and burn and burn. But God has nothing to say. You cry out Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani but the face of God is no longer visible. Has it ever been visible? Has the one in whom we place our trust ever been seen? Isn’t this all madness to begin with?
You must face the fire on your own. You must climb the mountain in the night to approach the flame that dares you to come closer, closer.
As you draw closer, your skin begins to burn. The unbearable heat. Yet this is not the time for cowardice but for courage, great courage that can only be summoned in the face of death and death indeed is what you are facing. You shield your eyes and press forward though your body says turn around and flee, go back to the places where you belong. Go back to the place where things are simple and easy to understand, where there is no mystery and no death, only one day and then another, only work and rest and milk and meat.
But here in the fire there is mystery. You are not dead after all, the flames have consumed you but you are not dead you are refined, made new, transformed into a new creature. Just as the alchemist transforms lesser metals into gold, you are being made into a new man, the eternal man immune to death. All becomes quiet. The flames rise around you but there is only perfect peace. You submit to the all-consuming fire, as you were always meant to submit, as you were always going to submit.
In the silence you hear His voice say, Here I am.
And all you remember how to say is here I am.