A few years ago, I was hiking around three lakes that were nearly 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 the trout will survive in 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 the economy, international tensions, inverted yield curves, and inflation rates. Tomorrow, they may be talking about completely different subjects. And on the other side of the Atlantic, the people of Turkey and Syria are trying to find those still missing after an enormous earthquake and an equally devastating aftershock reduced buildings to rubble. Within our own church, a family is sorting through the remains of a housefire, but even more, they’re sorting through the experience as a family, seeking to find an emotional landing place for their hearts. Their great loss battles against the compassionate response of their friends, their small group at church, neighbors, and even strangers who have sought to help. In all of these situations, they are 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, lead, encourage, and sustain us. Who knows what the coming weeks and months will bring. Winter will give way to spring and rejuvenate nature, but we do not know what we will see or experience along the way. However, the depths of God’s love will be inexhaustible on those difficult days.
Paul prayed for an early church so that they would know just how wide and high, and deep the love of Christ is. It’s reliable and faithful so that we have plenty of room to dive deep into God’s grace and love when the circumstances turn harsh.