The Privileged Life: Waiting for a “Thaw”

“By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen.” (Job 37:10)

We stood on the thick ice, just beyond the lake’s shore. Much further out from us, cars and people wandered aimlessly across the surface—an unfathomable danger to us Southerners who might see only an inch or so of ice on our lakes in wintertime.

This was Lake Baikal in Siberia, however. It’s the world’s largest freshwater lake, containing almost one-fourth of all the earth’s fresh surface water (more than all five Great Lakes combined). It’s also one of the deepest lakes on Earth, about one mile to the bottom. Sub-zero temperatures over the course of long Russian winters can freeze the ice up to six feet thick on top.*

My husband and I visited Lake Baikal more than two decades ago, during the last week of March. Its icy surface appeared impenetrable. Silvery streaks, like jet trails across a deep blue sky, criss-crossed the upper portion while the depths descended into clouds and darkness.

The longer we stood, the more we became aware of shudders, groans, and muffled cracks as this ancient giant yawned from its winter slumbers. Spring was coming, with its promise of new life. A thaw was on the way. 

In his cherished novel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (from The Chronicles of Narnia), Christian author C. S. Lewis used his faun character, Mr. Tumnus, to describe an endless winter created by the evil White Witch—“always winter but never Christmas.” 

Are you are experiencing something similar? A season of despair and frostiness that never seems to end? A wall of ice? A winter without a thaw?

Perhaps it’s a long season of prayer…without answers from God. Maybe you’ve engaged in spiritual warfare through years of fervent prayer—for yourself and others—but haven’t seen any tangible response. 

If this is your journey, you can feel as if you’re chipping away at a block of ice dozens of feet thick, making no progress whatsoever. 

Friend, as your fellow sojourner on this planet, I’m speaking to both of us when I say, “Don’t give up hope. God is faithful. He hears our pleas. He has His own timing, but it is never late.”

In other words, our Lord is the “God who thaws.” We have to accept that He is in charge. Just as He is the Creator of seasons, only He can effect changes in hearts going through wintry seasons.

There’s absolutely nothing we can do to bring about what only His Holy Spirit can accomplish. If an icy wall exists between Him and His children, it’s only because He has allowed it…and only He can soften it. Only He can thaw icy souls. 

But we can approach Him in prayer, bow humbly at His feet, and plead for mercy. Just as He is powerful to raise us from death to life, He is gentle and kind to listen. Our Father still performs miracles. And Jesus still intercedes for us. 

Lewis didn’t end his story with winter. Foretelling the return of Aslan (the great lion and hero of the story), Mr. Beaver declares that when Aslan comes to bare his teeth, “winter meets its death.” In Aslan’s presence, the ice and snow dissolve into spring. Evil is soon defeated. 

My prayer for you, my reader, is that you will find His peace and comfort in the waiting for His “thaw” to arrive. May you hold onto your faith, trust in His goodness, and forge ahead in prayer, knowing that His love is the most powerful force on earth…powerful enough to break through a “lake of ice” and renew life.

Dear Jesus, when we are still feeling out in the cold, remind us that You are the God of all seasons. You have ordained them for our lives, working all things for our good. Remind us constantly of Your faithfulness, as we rest in Your truth and love. Give us patience for the waiting. In Your name, Amen.

(Please continue to lift up prayer for all of the people involved in the Russia-Ukraine war…that God would end this destructive invasion and loss of life, with His peace and healing.)

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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography—except for photo of ice, taken by Ruthie Evers)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Here’s the good news of God’s grace for you: 

The foundation of the Christian life is our faith in the Good News of God’s grace. The Living and True God is a God of justice and of mercy. Every person at one time bears the guilt of sinful rebellion against God and is separated by that sin from a relationship with Him. God’s holy justice requires punishment for human sin, but out of His love and mercy He gave His Son Jesus Christ to become the Savior of all who will trust in Him. 

Christ became a man to fulfill the righteous requirements of God’s Law on their behalf, and to bear the punishment of their sins through His death on Calvary’s cross so that they can be forgiven and adopted into God’s eternal family. 

Contrary to much of popular belief, we cannot earn the forgiveness of our sin and the inheritance of eternal life with God by being good enough to merit these blessings. The Bible teaches that as sinners we can never be good enough on our own merit. But God offers us these benefits as a free gift, purchased in love by the holy life and the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. 

We accept this gift by placing our faith in Christ, repenting of our sins and trusting in His death as the means of our forgiveness and acceptance by God, receiving Him as our Savior and Lord. You may express this by praying a prayer in faith like the one that follows: 

Dear Father, I believe that Jesus Christ is Your only begotten Son, and that He became a human being, shed His blood and died on the cross to pay the penalty and clean away the sin that has separated me from You. I believe that He rose bodily from the dead to give me new life. Lord Jesus, I invite You and ask You to come into my heart. I confess my sins, and ask You to forgive me. I accept You as my Savior and Lord. I want to turn from my sins and pray that Your Holy Spirit will help me follow Your way. I believe that You have come and are living in me right now. Thank You, Lord. In Your Name I pray, Amen. 

(By Dr. James E. Richter, Retired Pastor, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee) 

* https://petapixel.com/2017/01/17/photographing-frozen-baikal-deepest-oldest-lake-earth/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Baikal

Photo taken by Ruthie Evers of her feet on Baikal ice…while we were together in Siberia
Russians out enjoying the sunshine on Lake Baikal’s ice, on foot or in cars…ignoring the signs of the spring thaw!

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