Walking today, I noticed that all the way around the lake, the edges were frozen. There was a little water with a few birds in the very center causing small waves to break over the icy edge. As I took in the scene, I could almost hear God asking…”Have you frozen over too?”
Have we allowed the world to chill us to the point of freezing at our edges?
This hard, cold iciness lessens our sensitivity and makes us feel and act colder. When there is a frozen boundary, that separation creates an inability to make contact. We may say this boundary is our “margin of protection” from the cold, cruel world. But what is the effect?
When we’re frozen, we cannot sense the needs of those around us. And we can’t care for what we don’t perceive. So we act with less love and service to others. This also isolates us from being loved and served because without contact, others cannot perceive our needs either. The coldness is perpetuating, because, as we feel colder and retreat from others, they retreat from us.
We become used to the faces of suffering, and pass them by with skepticism. We have been so overexposed to such great needs that we feel helpless to make a difference. We respond to pleas for support with indifference.
Ever feel the wind blowing off a frozen lake? It is incredibly cold, even colder than the air around the lake. When your life of love and service has chilled, you will blow only a hard, icy draft onto those around you. The usual response to this is to wrap your scarf tighter around your face, pull your coat closer and speed up to get away as fast as possible. And as others turn and pull away from you, your ice thickens.
Usually, there is a beautiful reflection in the lake. But the ice spoils this beauty. Garbage and debris thrown or blown onto the lake now sits on top of the ice, giving it the appearance of an abandoned street littered with refuse. Normally, wave action moves trash to the edge where it can be collected and doesn’t spoil the view. Or, the debris sinks to the bottom, biodegrades, and raises the water level. When we are warm, we respond the same way. Circumstances that don’t fit us are discarded. Other things that happen, we take in and process, and hopefully grow from. But when we become frozen, those little obstacles or hurts are more apparent and longer lasting because we cannot absorb or wave them off. They just sit on our surface for all to see and mar the view.
When frozen, the lake not only looks hard and cold; it looks painful. I could see cracks all over the ice. Each one started with a point of impact and spread in all directions. This web of explosive damage could be traced and connected all around the lake. Our lives are so much more painful when we present a hard, cold surface to the world. We may think it insulates us, but it just creates a showplace for all the hurts that come our way.
This ice keeps water contained. In our lives this hard, icy exterior keeps us from being able to connect with others. Normally the lake accommodates incoming and outgoing water smoothly. Within that ability we have the give and take of accepting and forgiving. We are able to flow to others and overflow our own banks with God’s blessings. Other times we can pull back from overcommittment, from unwise decisions, from bad or dangerous situations.
We are told in scripture to “not withhold good when it is in our power to do it”, and “do not grow weary in doing good”. Ice keeps blessings in. Our cold, insensitive attitudes will tell us to keep what we have to ourselves, when we are called to share.
So how do you see yourself? Have you become less sensitive to those around you? Do others see your growth or your garbage? Are you reflecting God’s love or showing your pain-etched cracks? Are you passing on the blessings or have you frozen your assets?
The answer to a frozen life is the same as the frozen lake. The Son! Heat from the sun will thaw ice and melt it away. But the lake must wait on the seasons. The heat from the love of God’s Son can melt the coldness in your life now. And the good news is: you don’t have to wait. Jesus is here right now to release His heart-warming, ice-melting love into your life. All you have to do is ask.
As you warm up you can feel the needs of others and they can feel yours. As the icy border melts, you can have the contact necessary to interact and share with others, and they with you. This will help you expel the garbage and deal with difficulties. It will keep you from “cracking” under stress. It will allow you to share God’s blessing, and be blessed in return.
Don’t wait. The Son is shining!