The crisp winter air nipped gently at my cheeks, which were now pink and rosy. The snow crunched in the most satisfying way beneath my feet, and up above the frost clung tightly to the tree branches. The sun was just beginning to break through the low hanging fog that rolled off the lake each morning.
From the corner of my eye I saw a tree that had somehow kept it’s fall foliage upon its branches, it stole my attention. The red leaves, that had once fluttered gracefully in the wind, were now frozen and frosted. At the curving point of each leaf was, what looked like, a delicate drop of water that was preparing to roll off and drop to the earth below.
However, upon closer inspection I realized these water droplets had been thwarted at just the moment they were ready to let go and free fall. They were now frozen in place, waiting for the sun’s warmth to release them.
Just as I turned away to keep walking the sun broke through the fog, sending brilliant waves of light cascading through the trees. The sun hit the frozen droplets, causing them to light up like small, yet stunning, chandeliers. The frozen droplets were filled with light, and they seemed to have life once again. It wouldn’t be long now, I was sure, until they melted and would finally be united with the earth.
I turned my feet, the snow making a small creaking sound, and trudged onward. As I walked I continued to think of those frozen droplets being illuminated by the beauty of the morning sun. What a beautiful example of us and our Saviour; we were dead, frozen, and his love brought us back to life.
Not only this, but many times in our Christian walk we get held back from our mission. This can happen for many different reasons; we can become frozen through distractions, fear, pain, and lust for, and constant chasing of, worldly things.
We are like the water droplets rolling down the leaf, doing what God has intended us to do, when we allow all of the above things (and more) to freeze us. We start our mission only to be stopped in our tracks. Similar to the water droplets which are pulled downward by the force of gravity, we are pulled towards active use of our gifts through Christ. That is, until we become frozen.
But, just as the sun broke through the fog, warmed the water droplets, lit them with it’s glorious rays, and sent them back on their intended course, I believe Christ will also shine into our lives and set us back on our intended course.
And the truth of the matter is that we are continually going through times in our life of being frozen — there are different times we struggle with different things— it’s natural. No matter the pain, distraction, fear, or lust for the world that we feel, Jesus can shine brightly into those dark places and fill them with light.
I, personally, am currently struggling with a mixture of complacent fear and distraction. In fact, these seem to be a constant struggle for me in my life. But I know that when I focus on Jesus and the task he has provided for me this day (along with the grace sufficient for the day and task at hand), that I am not consumed with complacent fear, or distractions.
This is one of the primary reasons that I chose the word “focus” as my word for 2020. I want to focus on Christ, his voice, who he has uniquely made me to be, and how I can intentionally use those gifts to serve him.
I can all too easily be distracted from my Fathers voice, and I can easily let fear and emotion hold me back in complacency, and dictate how I serve God. I don’t want my life to be filled with those things, I want to be focused on the present and what God requires of me in that moment, I want to say yes and go when He calls.
The more I read the bible, the more I realize that the famous figures in the bible were people who, most of the time, heard God’s voice and they acted almost immediately. Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely not always the case, and God can and does work on the reluctant-of-heart (*cough cough* Moses).
We see figures like Noah, Abraham, and King David who all said yes to some big things without allowing the fear of the potential consequences of their actions to freeze-them-up.
Let’s take a look at Genesis 6:13-22, where God commands Noah the monstrous task of building an arc, even though there was no rain in sight, “God said (vs 13)…. and Noah did this; he did ALL that God commanded him (vs 22)”. God commands, and Noah went into action.
And Abraham’s immediate obedience in Genesis 22:1-3, “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac…”. Notice how Abraham “rose early in the morning” implying he did not put off the task, but did it quickly.
God saw Abrahams heart, his willingness to obey and follow him; and disclaimer for those of you who may not have read the bible: God did not allow Abraham to kill his son, Isaac.
And 1 Chronicles 14 is all about David doing as God commanded him; “And David did as God commanded him and struck down the Philistine army from Gibeon to Gezer” – 1 Chronicles 14:16.
Honestly, many of the stories we read in the bible are simply because someone said yes to God.
God said, and they did.
This is not to say they did not experience fear or other issues, or that they were a step above other humans, but it shows that they did not necessarily linger in these feelings and freeze. Rather, they focused on God, trusted him, and acted quickly. And, that too, is how I want to live my life.
I am sure there will be moments of being frozen, but I pray that God will always open my heart to allow me to let his light back in, and I pray the same for you.
” Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me — practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing penalty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”