You might have seen recent pictures of Australian bushfires. What is left is burnt dark soil with seemingly no life left. This applies to any bush fires globally. It feels like nothing is left then smoky ashy earth. After a few days, with some rain in the mix, something amazing happens. Life grows though death.

A phenomenon of such we find in South Africa. After the fire has destroyed nature, it all looks and smells bleak, black, dark, deserted. It is not the end in itself. Something beautiful happens. Life is birthed.

After a fire, and only after a fire, a certain plant grows through the ground. It is the fire lily. The fire lilies are so named because they are the first plants to flower after a burn, often within days. Their orange-to-scarlet, tubular-to-trumpet-shaped flowers hang in pretty umbels at the tip of stiff fleshy stalks and are highly visible, contrasting strongly with the burnt, blackened ground they grow in. The flowers themselves are not scented but they do produce a fair amount of nectar. The bright red inflorescence mainly attracts the Table Mountain pride butterfly as well as sunbirds.

Once the flowering is complete, seeds are produced and the plant returns to its dormant bulbous state until another fire returns to clear the landscape.

I wonder where in our lives we might experience burns. I also wonder what would be our fire lilies coming out of it as the pain bears fruit?

It will look very different for all of us but the same applies to everybody. Only when we address the pain, the dirt in our lives can produce something fruitful to come out of it. Only then, some of the fruit will flourish like in our case the fire lily.

I am reminded of John 12:24, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

I often want a quick and easy way out of painful situations, a quick way of producing manifold fruit, but there is no shortcut for it. To flower means I need to come through some dirt first. It involves a prize to pay, being willing to die to yourself, your own wishes and desires, your own resources etc. 

As we walk through life, we need people alongside us who cheer us on and help us sometimes to unravel the dirt, put a band-aid on some of our wounds and challenge us neither to give up or in.

Let´s together discover the fruits from our pain. A mentoring community can be so powerful in this as we share life, our joys and pain. That someone will whisper to you, “you are good enough”, “you can get through this pain”, “you are not the only one”… And this can bring much healing to our soul. It is God and people walking alongside us, which makes the difference.

Hearing about this flower first in 2019, I was totally blown away by how powerful nature is.

Some amazing lessons to learn from it:

  • Though I too often leave burnt soil around me through my behaviour, God can turn situations around and bring beauty out of ashes
  • Our pain is not in vain. It lays the foundation for fruit to bear
  • Without dirt, there is no beauty. We will not arrive in the promised land without dying to ourselves
  • Through pain, we bear fruit and seeds are planted for others to be nourished and fed. Make your pain usable and available to others to learn from, be inspired and encouraged to last through their own fires in life
  • Make sure you have people alongside you walking the journey of life together. Find a pain buddy