Beside Still Waters: Do not our hearts burn?

Therese Apel

Hog Chain VFD Chief and then-firefighter Therese Apel on a training fire. Photo: Chris Barnhart

“And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” – Luke 24:32

The two men speaking in that scripture were the disciples that Jesus appeared to on the road to Emmaus. At the time He was with them, they didn’t recognize him, but when they learned their fellow traveler had been their Lord, this was their immediate response:
“My heart knew.”

We talked about this story briefly in my Sunday School class yesterday, and this particular verse isn’t in the book of Mark, so I brought it up in discussion. I mentioned how it speaks to me… sometimes we just aren’t listening or looking for God or His miracles, but there He is, not just on the same road but walking with us.

When I finished my sentence, I heard God in my spirit: “Does not your heart burn within you now?”

The last few years have been an intensive study in survival for me on every level, and there are times I’ve screamed and cried and practically thrown things at God. That came to mind immediately when I heard His voice.

“Does not your heart burn within you?”

And His message was clear. This whole walk, the last few years of this road, He has been not just watching, not just monitoring, but walking beside me and speaking to me about His scriptures and His love.

The photo I used with this devotional was a lifetime ago, but it was the night I learned to understand fire (that’s me in the black helmet). My chief took me up to that door and showed me that it’s the correct application of the water and the understanding of how fire moves that beats the fire, not just putting the wet stuff on the red stuff.

Have you ever realized that it’s not just prayer that beats fear and pain and that feeling of aloneness that seems to take over in the dark times? It’s the correct application of God’s word and the understanding of how He moves. After the night shown in the photo, I was a different kind of firefighter because my Chief taught me to watch the fire and listen to my instincts and the things I’d been taught on the fireground.

Those men on the road… did they listen to their instincts and the things they’d been taught as Jesus spoke to them that day? Do you think they learned that valuable lesson, and do you think it made them bolder and stronger when they went back out into the world?

I’m sure the other ladies saw the tears rolling down my face, but it’s not unusual for us to cry in Sunday School (we get pretty deep with God in there), so they probably didn’t realize what God had just said to me.

When you’re crying out to God, when you feel like the road is long, when it feels like you’re taking body blows from the universe… DOES NOT YOUR HEART BURN WITHIN YOU?? Can’t you feel Him? When you look back, or when you get silent, do you feel that flame that is the Holy Spirit as it sits on you, waiting for you to recognize the face of Jesus in your trial?

That burn is easy to mistake when we allow the voice of fear or pain to speak louder. But if you listen, REALLY LISTEN, you’ll hear His voice. Your heart is burning because He is right there.

May your heart ALWAYS burn within you. ❤️

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