Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Packed Down Like Ice

This is what is on my mind, and although not as lovely as some of the things I have written, it is what I feel that God has put before me today. I hope that somehow it helps you in your journey of seeking God.

The temperatures rose in to the fifties and a strong south wind whirled around and through every space that it could find. With the warming air and the wind, the piles of snow began to melt. It is an odd time of year. There is hope of Spring, and yet, there is the realization of the wear and tear of winter as the blanket of white melts and evaporates leaving behind the remnants of the long hard season. Branches, trash, piles of sand and grass, grotesque ice sculptures formed from the scraping of roads and driveways, and the bumpy build up of ice everywhere, now revealed.

One begins to notice the packed down ice more as the snow dissipates. Thick fields of it lay on driveways and roadways. We try and sprinkle some salt and hope that the addition of the sun will help to take care of the problem, but it usually is not enough. One must take out the sharp chisel and shovel and get to work at it. My driveway this year was notorious for the amount of ice that had formed on it. In some places, due to snow and rain build up, worsened by the fact that I drove over it and over it before ever shoveling it, it was 6 inches thick. To remove the ice took energy and time. I realized more and more that if I had dealt with the "causes of the problem" early on, I would not be working so hard.

And it dawned on me, so it is with my sin, our sin. Let me take anger for an example. Reality is that as sinners we are going to get angry. I am speaking of the unrighteous anger that brews in the sinful crevices of our hearts. It may start out small, a by product of an injustice that occurs, a rejection, a hurt, or due to a wrong that was perpetrated against us. If we let it build up and do not deal with it, it grows. It grows thick and cold and destructive. It starts out thin, and we think that we will have the time or strength to deal with it later. However, the more we pack it down (or allow others to drive over it and pack it down) the worse it becomes.

Sometimes, especially in my pain, I can feel my sin of resentment or anger grow. Today I am reminded of how ugly it looks and how much work it takes to rid of it. Sometimes, I don't like to look at my own sin. I'd rather look away and think to myself that I can deal with it another day, when perhaps I have more strength and energy.

But I know that if I deal with it early on and repent of it -- asking God for forgiveness and genuinely turning the other way and in the power of the Holy Spirit, seek change -- my struggle with that particular sin may begin to clear out of the way. I ask God to forgive me and change me and help me to deal with the issues that are creating this hardness within me, before it can build up and be a monumental task to remove.

I will choose to seek, God, though, even in the midst of my suffering, and ask Him to show me my own heart. Psalm 51 is David's humble prayer for forgiveness. We are reminded how God in His mercy, in His unfailing love for us, sent Jesus who has and continues to remove our sins and make us clean. He will chip away at what we bring to Him, and He will make our paths straight and strong again. This is what we can offer to Him, a broken and contrite heart, that has areas that have become cold and packed down, like ice, but are broken up and offered back to Him.

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