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Fire Drills for My Soul
By Marlene Houk
Burke County



How Firm a Foundation, Verse 3, Lutheran Book of Worship

“My grace, all-sufficient, shall be your supply,
The flames shall not hurt you; I only design
Your dross to consume and your gold to refine.”


Alarms blare and piercing lights stab through the morning quiet of the elementary school. Startled out of their routines, the children snap their heads up and stare at the teacher. She speaks firmly and calmly, authoritatively dispensing instructions. “Quiet.” She says, “Let’s line up and let’s go. Stop talking. Johnny, don’t run.”
As the students emerge from the building, the crisp chilly wind bites their cheeks and turns them rosy. During a recent drill, musical rhythm sticks remained in chubby first-grader hands as they exit the hallways, and a video conference immediately changes the background from cinder block to colorful bushes.
My friend, who teaches elementary, recently described a fire drill with her young students. I realized that school fire drills formed a pungent analogy to the spiritual equivalent of practicing for the fiery trials of life. As I recall my own memories of school fire drills, I discovered that they are quite relevant for my own spiritual fire drills.
A kindergarten child’s innocent question prompted this spiritual analogy. He said, “What would happen if we really had a fire?” My quick-thinking friend answered, “That’s why we have a fire drill – to practice for the real emergency.”
The same is true in the Christian life. We need to be practicing our spiritual fire drills so that when the fiery trials of life roar through our souls, we know the exit routes described in the Bible. We’ve posted them on the walls of our hearts. We equip ourselves to remain calm when the smoke of life threatens to overwhelm us.
I asked my friend about the rules for a fire drill. She instantly quoted the guidelines which were posted in the employee handbook, reviewed at the beginning of the school year, and practiced once a month as required by the state. The teachers are trained. The fire exit routes are posted. For a teacher with thirty years of experience at ten months for each school year, she would have participated in 300 fire drills and been extremely familiar with the procedure.
Here they are:
1. We line up.
2. We are quiet and orderly.
3. We walk quickly but we do not run.
4. We follow and obey the teacher.
5. Our goal is to get out of the building safely and quickly.
6. We can reenter when we are told it is safe to do so.
Do you see the spiritual analogy? – The fire drill is the spiritual preparation for the fiery trials of life.
Our spiritual Authority requires that we practice scriptural principles to prepare for the flames of adversity.
Here are the spiritual rules for a fiery trial:
1. We line up with God’s Word.
Psalm 16:6 “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”
2. As much as possible, we are quiet and orderly in the way we approach the fiery trials of life. Isaiah 30:15 “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.”
1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion”.
3. We walk quickly, but we do not run. We don’t panic for faith is a refusal to panic.
Galatians 5:17 “Walk in the Spirit.”
Psalm 119:60 “I made haste and delayed not to keep thy commandments.”
4. We follow and obey our teacher, Jesus Christ.
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and follow me.”
5. Our goal as Christians is to protect our health, safety, and loved ones so that we can continue to serve the Lord after the blaze of the affliction diminishes.
Isaiah 43:2-3 “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
6. Our return to normalcy depends upon guidance from the Lord.

Colossians 1:9 “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”
The alarm’s screech fades away. The blinding lights disappear. And the children file back into the school to resume their normal schedule. When your children mention a fire drill or you see it in the safety section of your school information, remember that we, too, can practice our spiritual fire drills and teach them to our children.


Marlene Houk is a regualr contributor to Blue Ridge Christain News. Her passion is to delve deeply into the truths of Bible women and to discuss those in Bible Studies called Backstage Pass to Bible Women. She and her husband discover joy, nurture, and challenge in their church. Her contact is

You can purchase her book, Hidden in a List: secrets from Bible women, on Amazon HERE.