On worn and trusty skates, they headed out into the wintry wonderland in search of a grand, childhood adventure. The lake was their year-round playground. But their splashing squeals of summer had long since slumbered beneath the deep freeze.
Under miles and miles of blue skies, they made their familiar trek across the ice to distant shores. It all seemed so liberating—two sole kids journeying to the other side of the lake—with nothing but the expanse of the day and the snowy ice stretching before them.
As they drew nearer the opposite shore, they breached an impasse. He chose to take the road over the culvert. She chose to keep to the ice. (After all, you can’t say you’ve skated across the whole lake if you exit and walk on the road!)
He chose wisely. You see, the current of the water that flowed through the culvert meant that the ice was thinner in the immediate area—a fact realized but not fully understood by the foolish pride of a young girl with a heart set on adventure.
She felt the crack beneath the blade and suddenly there was no where to turn. As the sound of shattering ice echoed across the lake, reverberating through her quickening soul, she sank into the icy waters. There was a rather surreal dichotomy between what was experienced in slow-motion and what happened all too quickly.
The current tugged at her flailing feet and the snowsuit ballooned with water. Panic set in as every exiting edge crumbled under her attempts to be free of the danger.
Looking down into the swirling, dark waters consumed her with fear. But when she looked up, she saw the light of the sun, the blue sky . . . her rescuer.
By the grace of God, she made her way to a place where the ice was thicker . . . stronger. And her brother reached out an arm to pull her from the watery dungeon.
Reaching dry land, they were greeted by a neighbor’s open door, a warm fire and a cup of hot chocolate, as they excitedly shared the heroics of their staggering tale.
And peace was restored with the return of faith’s well-being.
That girl resurfaced last week – as she has been known to do, when stress mounts and fear of sinking rushes in and overwhelms. And the harder you strive, the worse it gets. Because, when all the world is pulling you down, you sometimes forget. But then, when you still, lessons learned are suddenly remembered. The lesson to cease striving. To turn your eyes from the dark, swirling floodwaters and look up to the Light—where trust and hope restore peace. And He pulls you to. And you land on your feet, on solid ground, to breathe-in the knowledge of the futility of it all. And there is this grand rescue. A rescue from opposing thoughts and the whirling, whisper of lies that bear the rotten fruit of faltering faith and faulty focus.
And peace is restored with the return of faith’s well-being.
Our journey with God is a journey of faith across this wild expanse to a distant shore. And when faith gives way to the sin of worry and discouragement, you’re soon skating on thin ice. And when all you see is darkness, and all you hear are howling lies, you can quickly sink into troubled waters. But when you still in prayer, but for a moment, He breathes life back into faith and you gain sure footing.
And you remember. (Something you can't do when you're flailing around in futility.)
You remember what you learned about avoiding the dangers of skating on thin ice and about how you cannot save yourself – no matter how hard you strive. And you remember what you learned about where to set your gaze.
When all the world is pulling you down, Christian, remember. Remember to remember the eternal truths of our faith.
And the peace of God comes in like a flood – to steady, to settle, to soothe, and to save.
Q: What anxiety spurs a striving in you?