I was intrigued by this story. I was so amazed to discover that a fire could burn underneath a town for over 40 years. A quote that jumped out at me from the article is this: "It could have been extinguished for thousands of dollars then, but a series of bureaucratic half-measures and a lack of funding allowed the fire to grow into a voracious monster."
A deadly fire burning beneath a town for a long period of time that could've been extinguished if the proper measures had been taken. It reminds me of what lies beneath the surface of the human heart. Its so easy to let regret, jealousy, anger, bitterness, hatred, animosity, fear and a slew of other negative emotions slowly burn beneath the surface of the human heart. The problem is that these negative emotions are poisonous. Maybe they're not so bad if they come and go, in fact, they're normal when faced with certain situations. However, its when they slowly burn just under the surface for years and years that they persistently choke out the good emotions and send an unaware victim into a tailspin of depression, nervousness and anxiety. Its a slow and perhaps unnoticeable death.
The remedy? Keeping a consistent and persistent tab on those negative emotions. Having someone we can vent to. Having someone we can trust to help test whether or not the emotions are valid or if they are a creation of our own sinful discord. As long as the fire is left alone, it will foster and persist and poison the human heart. Its through awareness and bringing light to the darkness that those negative emotions can be kept in check.
It reminds me of John's words: "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
I've read these words dozens of times, never have I noticed the emphasis not only on our individual walk in the light, but our "fellowship with one another." We need each other to keep the negative emotions in check and ensure they aren't burning beneath the surface for years and years.
When's the last time you took a long, hard look at your heart and the emotions that are there? When is the last time you sat with a friend and talked about what you are feeling and thinking and why? There's healing in honest sharing and growth in sincere confession.