A few weeks ago, I was hiking around three lakes that were near 10,000 feet in elevation. Snow already covered some of the slopes and a thin sheet of ice had formed where the water was shadowed. The high, alpine water was crystal clear and I perched in a tree overhanging the edge of the ice and watched as cutthroat trout hunted the lake’s edges.
This high altitude lake will freeze as the temperatures drop and sunshine dissipates for the next few weeks. But while the surface freezes, the water beneath will escape the ice. Deeper in the canyon that forms the lake, the water will reach frigid temperatures, and there the trout will survive the winter. Therein lies a lesson I’m taking to heart:
The harsher the circumstances, the deeper they must dive.
Life is unpredictable in so many ways. Today, the pundits are talking about economy, trade wars, inverted yield curves, and consumption rates. Tomorrow, they may be talking about completely different subjects. And just a few hours east of here, some of my dear friends are still trying to help people sort through the rubble of their homes, still trying to determine if they can rebuild their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Oh, you remember him, don’t you? A massive storm swept into the Florida coast with the 2nd greatest hurricane winds on record, but that was two months ago and our attention so quickly moves on. Those in its wake, however, are still trying to piece together their lives. They’re having to dive deep into their trust in the Lord’s work, provision, intentions, and mercy.
Most of us rarely need to dive deep into the shelter of God’s comfort and leadership, but a day comes for all of us when it’s a matter of spiritual survival. And when we do, we find that the Holy Spirit is waiting to comfort us, lead us, encourage us, and sustain us. Who knows what the coming weeks and months will bring. Christmas will give way to New Years, and that will give way to spring and rejuvenated nature, but along the way, we do not know what we will see or experience. The depths of God’s love, however, will be inexhaustible on those difficult days.
Paul prayed for an early church, that they would know just how wide and high and deep the love of Christ is. It’s reliable and faithful so that, when the circumstances turn harsh, we have plenty of room to dive deep in God’s grace and love.