Half-Frozen Lake


“It’s wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears.”

– Helen Keller –

My future is a half-frozen lake.

I’m standing on the edge, where the who-knows-how-thick present meets the sheer ice of what is to come.

When I lean forward, the frozen platform crackles, portentous.

Once upon a time, I dared to dream.

I took a step out onto the fragile thinness ahead and thought perhaps it too had crusted over. Safe to bear my weight at last. The first whispers of dreams were coming true—culmination of years of education and spiritual training and heart-to-heart talks with my family. In so many ways, my life was budding into what I thought it was to be. Calling, vocation, life service, my passion. Maybe it would all come together smoothly. So far, so good.

So I was out there, out on the just-frozen water, for a while. Dreaming that maybe these future paths could be real.

From the heavens, just yesterday, fell a stone.

Rough, ragged, sharp. The too-thin crust began to shatter.

Tears welled up, trickling warm on my pale, cold cheeks.

One of my dreams broke. Crumbled beneath my feet until my very heart depended on how fast I could leap back onto the thick, solid surface behind me.

I jumped and landed in a skid. I knelt on firmness as a thousand shards of ice-dreams floated away in the pale ripples.

I wasn’t heartbroken. Just sad, left with a dull ache of losing something I never had.

I wasn’t angry. Just disillusioned and disappointed. Disappointed with friends. Disappointed that I had fooled myself yet again. Disappointed that I thought life was clicking into place. Disappointed, yet left clinging to my best Friend of all.

As the little crystal pieces of hope drifted off, I held on to a song.

That the “trials of this life are [His] mercies in disguise.” Even “when friends betray us.”

And I’m thankful. So thankful, that my heart had not been tossed into that chilled lake when the future-ice gave way. So thankful, that wisdom had come through the words of a counselor all along, and kept me back from throwing all my weight onto the thinness.

So, again, I’m on the ledge. It seems like the thin places reaching across from the opposite bank are slowly stretching to meet my solid place.

The pieces of a future dream are melting into the past.

But now I fear stepping out again, fear testing the ice crusting over in front of my hesitant toes.

What if my dreams break off again? Isn’t it easier not to dream at all? The heart-sickness of hope lost is too much of a gamble, isn’t it?

That ice coming across the gap, smooth and sheening, enthralls me. It’s so beautiful. My eyes hurt with hoping that it’s not a mirage.

Future is fast merging into present, tomorrow becoming today.

Soon, the ice in front of my timid feet will cloud, translucent.

God never waits for the ice to go hard through, opaque.

He will call me to step out while the layer is still thin. While the dreams are tender and the hopes are fragile and I wonder if I really can stand it again.

“There are times in our Christian life when we cannot see beyond the next step. At that point, we have to trust God and venture out on the basis of His Word.”

– Alistair Begg –

One day, my feet will be on a solid bridge, a hope and a future that will not be cut off.

Ultimately, this hope is unshakable, eternal. Forever.

“We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see?But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience…..The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will. We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. We know this because God knew them in advance, and he decided in advance that they would be conformed to the image of his Son.”

– Romans 8:24-29, CEB –

Grace, a frozen merging of all my todays and tommorows.

I’m learning not to fear thin ice.

After all, I’ve got a Savior who walks on water.

“Strength of my heart, I need not fail,
Not mind to fear but to obey,
With such a Leader, who could quail?
Thou art as Thou wert yesterday.
Strength of my heart, I rest in Thee,
Fulfil Thy purposes through me.”

– Amy Carmichael –

Thank you, David Wagner and Public Domain Pictures, for the great shot!


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