Strange Fire

Pete Garcia

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.


To be perfectly honest, I have dreaded writing this for a long time now.  I’m not all that comfortable talking about myself, especially when it is on this subject.  For me, it is easy to write about current geo-political events or the prophetic signposts we see flying by us at 80 mph.  But at the end of the day, I lay my head down on my pillow and come clean with God.  What have I done today in the service of my King?  What opportunities did I squander in sharing the Gospel or what kind word or deed, did I withhold from someone in whom God put in my path?


And one cried to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;The whole earth is full of His glory!”

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.


A while back I shared with some on the Omega Letter forums of how God got ahold of my life.  I was already a Christian, but one who had drifted far from God.  I was a ‘Jonah’ on my way to Tarshish. And then one night, a friend of mine decided to end his own life.  When I found out, it was as if a 500 lb. gorilla punched me dead in the chest.  It shook me to the core.  Based on the evidence that I knew of my friend’s life, I seriously doubt he knew Jesus Christ and I shudder to think of where he is right at this moment, and where he will spend all of eternity. 


So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;For my eyes have seen the King,The Lord of hosts.” 


I earnestly believe, that we are seeing an increasing amount of judgments upon this world as God, in His mercy is increasingly trying to wake mankind up.  As God already knows how this will transpire, these increased natural and man-made catastrophes are for our benefit, not His.  Again, I think back to the tragedy of my friend, and if he hadn’t done what he did, would I be where I am today? I shudder to think of what God would have had to do beyond that to get my attention.


Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:

“Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”


When tragedy strikes, people are removed suddenly from their comfort zones.  And whether it is a tornado, earthquake, flood, fire, suicide, murder, or illness…an infinite and omniscient God uses all these, to work for not only His glory, but for our good.  We can question that, or try to insert our human reasoning into the "whys” and “what ifs”, but the truth is, God has already seen how this plays out.  And if He allows this to happen in our lives, and we survive it, we had better recognize that it could have been us, and act upon that knowledge rather than shrugging it off and retreating back to our zones of comfort.


Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal, which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:

“Behold, this has touched your lips;Your iniquity is taken away,And your sin purged.”


When I look back on my life, I am according to the world’s standards, living a fairly normal life.  I went to public school growing up, I went to church, and I joined the military at a young.  Eventually, I went back to college and got a degree, because the world says that is what you have to do to succeed these days.  And if the world were judging me based on my résumé, I’d probably be considered a good person with a great track record.  But I KNOW better.  I know me.  I know the people I’ve hurt and used over the years.  I know all the mean things I’ve said and done, EVEN as a Christian.  I know that at my core, were it not for God’s providential rescue of myself, I may have been used as an example to someone else.  And God used the loss of my dear friend’s life, as utterly tragic and preventable as it was, for something good.


Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:

“Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?”

Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”


I don’t think God allowed my friend to end his life solely to bring me back into the fold.  I think God allowed the circumstances to be as such, so that when it happened, that one facet of this tragedy would be used to bring me back into fellowship with Him.  I would have never been part of Omega Letter had those events in my life not transpired the way they did, because I don’t think I would have been even interested in getting my life back in step with God.  Looking back, I know that I had become very desensitized to the things of God, and it would take the loss of someone close to me, of that magnitude, to wake me up.


And He said, “Go, and tell this people:

‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

 “Make the heart of this people dull,And their ears heavy,And shut their eyes;Lest they see with their eyes,And hear with their ears,And understand with their heart,And return and be healed.”


So as much as I have been able to, I have sought after God these last 5 ½ years with a passion and a zeal, that most of my old friends probably think I’ve went off the deep end.  I’m a “Jesus-Freak” or a “fanatic”, and I’ve probably turned away some people by my insistence on sharing the Good News with them.  Maybe some see me as a hypocrite, because they knew how I used to be.  Honestly, I don’t even worry about such things anymore.  God has called me to do my part in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ before time runs out, and that’s exactly what I will do.




Then I said, “Lord, how long?”

And He answered:

“Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without man,The land is utterly desolate,

The Lord has removed men far away,And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.

But yet a tenth will be in it,And will return and be for consuming,As a terebinth tree or as an oak,Whose stump remains when it is cut down.So the holy seed shall be its stump.”


As the age of the Church draws to a close, the battle lines are hardening.   Our adversary Satan, who is the god of this world, is furiously unleashing all his power and forces he has at his disposal to shut the message of Jesus Christ down.  We can see the evidence all around us.  The world is coming off it’s hinges and when a religion that promotes beheading defectors, stoning women, and raping children such as Islam, gets a pass while Christianity is increasingly vilified as intolerant, you know something is terribly amiss.  So, I have no doubt that my walk, should the Lord tarry, cost me…and I’m ok with that.


Compared to eternity, this life is but a whisper. 100 million years from now, we will still be in the glorious presence of God, with an everlasting eternity still stretched out before us.  Allow the things that have shaped and impacted your life to be a testimony to those around you.  Be willing to come undone in the presence of an all powerful and completely righteous God.  Most importantly, we must be like the prophet Isaiah and be willing to go and spread the Good News where God has placed you.


Wherever the providence of God may dump us down, in a slum, in a shop, in the desert, we have to labour along the line of His direction. Never allow this thought—“I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly can be of no use where you are not! Wherever He has engineered your circumstances, pray. Oswald Chambers


Pete Garcia is an editor-at-large for the Omega Letter.