Smoke in Your Eyes

Wake Up With a Coffee and the Smell of Smoke on the Air

On July 10th, I telephoned my old neighbor, Ed, in Saskatchewan. He was waiting to get our new B.C. telephone number, as he knew our telephone was going into service that day. Skype has served us well, but sometimes Ed wants to be able to pick up his phone and give me an earful about things at Melville. He admits he is a talker and if he can phone his relatives in Alberta, he feels he should also call me in Chilliwack BC. When I lived next door to him, he would quit talking to me over the fence if I said what he didn’t like hearing. At least when I called him in July, he did not hang up on me.

Ed was quick to tell me that the smoke from forest fires was on the air in Melville a long distance from the fires to the north. He said that then even the non-smokers woke up to smoke in the air with their morning coffee. At that time, a hundred forest fires were burning in Saskatchewan.  I told him smoke from forest fires was on the air here, and that we had 200 forest fires at that time in BC.  Ed was sure that they could only be half as serious as the fires in SK.

Ed and I have always had differing opinions on almost everything. Rather than disagree on which province had the most serious forest fires, I told Ed that the air quality warnings issued because of smoke in the air had me humming an old song. The song was a big hit by the Platters way back when I was much younger. It was called, “Smoke gets in your eyes.” My old neighbor scoffed that no one would remember the song but me, but I simply said that he could be right.

Who remembers who, and who remembers what, are two themes that run through the Bible. In the Old Testament, Moses remembered that he was a Hebrew and that his people were slaves in Egypt. He had fled from Egypt because he had killed an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew slave. When he fled Egypt, he lived in Midian as a shepherd and ignored the suffering of his people. God did not forget their misery, and the result was Moses getting smoke in his eyes from a burning bush.

God spoke to Moses through his telephone connection. Instead of God’s phone ringing, Moses saw a bush burning, so he went to the burning bush to see why it just kept burning. God spoke from the bush to him, because God had a job for Moses to do. It was an impossible task at first glance. Moses was to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. The Pharaoh had no fear or respect for the Hebrew slaves or their God. The Hebrew people had been slaves in Egypt for so many generations, that they had largely forgotten their God. God had no difficulty overcoming the impossible situations facing Moses. There is no smoke in God’s eyes, even though his heart is on fire for his people. He still leads sinners to the promised land of his freeing forgiveness.

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Raymond Maher
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