“Meet me at the cross.”
The voice wasn’t audible, but couldn’t have been more clear. As I drove into the woods, I knew where He wanted me to go. I don’t hear from God with my ears, and not often as clearly as I did that morning. Mostly, He makes Himself known to me in the recalling and reading of the Scriptures, in the rebuke or admonition of another Christ-follower and in the beauty of nature. But there are times I sense the Spirit clearly pressing into my heart with instructions and affirmations.
Instead of parking in the normal spot and heading on the same trail I had been walking for months, I drove down toward the lake, toward the place with a large wooden cross.
I met a beaver on a sheet of ice. He quickly jumped into the frigid lake. Hundreds of ducks were resting in the cove and flew up when they saw me. A Pileated Woodpecker screeched from a nearby tree. I felt guilty for disturbing nature’s peace.
When I approached the cross, I looked around and spotted a large rock near an oak. The old tree leaned over the water. Its gnarly branches dipped into the lake, collecting large and small icicles. I sat down, listening to small waves gently breaking agains the frozen shore. The ducks were calling in the distance as they settled. Here, I waited for the morning to break.
The sunrise unfolded with a cold breeze pushing in from the lake. For months, I had drudged through the snow in the woods above, one dreary morning at a time. This morning the sky promised sun. This was the first (at least partly) sunny morning in a long time.
Slowly, the sun peeked through the clouds and over the branches. Frame by frame, cold minutes passed and then exploded in a light show before me.
This light, originating from a ball of fire, 91 million miles away, from a place of inapproachable heat and power, was suddenly broken in the icicles. These beams, too bright for me look at, gently radiated in constantly changing colors. From light pink to deep orange, rays spoke of the mighty works of the Creator. Light too powerful to approach, to majestic to contemplate, broke and became visible in its opposite.
Frozen fire. Hardened light. Power in weakness.
I am reminded of God’s work in and through me.
I don’t have to become louder, stronger, mightier or tougher.
God in His kindness seeks out the weakness in man and makes Himself known.
“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded
for the sake of your prayers.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly,
since love covers a multitude of sins.”
(1 Peter 4:7-8)
“I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves – one above another – and the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now I find that God’s gifts are on the shelves – and the lower we stoop, the more we get.”
(pictures and essay, Heidi Viars, 2021)