Tourists travel from all over the world to marvel at the fynbos in the Cape Floral Kingdom of South Africa.
About 80% of the plants in this floral kingdom are fynbos, easily recognised by tough, often slender, leathery leaves and woody stems. These include such exotic plants as proteas, ericas and restios (reeds).
Often we see on our television horrific fires in the Cape Peninsula, threatening the wild life and flora in the area as well as human life. Every few years, the famous Table mountain becomes ablaze with terrifying, life-destroying fires. Yet ironically, these fires are essential for fynbos. Without these fires, fynbos would become extinct.
In some varieties, seeds are enclosed in small cones sealed together by a type of resin. When fire sweeps across the plants, the resin melts and the seeds are swept away to new locations by the updraft from the fire.
Surely the greatest of all the fynbos is the King Protea, South Africa's magnificent national flower, with heads up to twelve inches in diameter. Fire causes the protea to send out new shoots from buds growing deep in its underground stem.
Over 17 years ago, when I struggled through aggressive cancer treatment, there were times when I felt as if I too faced a fire from which I wouldn't recover. Sometimes it takes such a life-threatening crisis to make us see what we are really capable of, to open up new areas where we can become involved and even thrive.
The fire of cancer caused me to send out shoots into the writing world, and today I'm a published author. I hated every minute of the treatment, and I pray regularly I will never face it again. But the cancer blaze certainly opened doors I would never have dreamed of.
How true it is when God's Word says, We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)
How about you? Can you identify fires that God used to alter or even transform your life?
SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband, Rob. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer contains 90 meditations based on her time in the cancer valley.