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How Thick is the Ice?

Now I want you to know, brethren, that

my circumstances have turned out for

the greater progress of the gospel,

so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ

has become well known throughout the whole praetorian

guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren,

trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment,

have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

Philippians 1:12-14 (NAS)

Their cabin was on the river across from the general store. The only crossing was a full day’s journey down stream in the best of weather, but with this early winter snowstorm the trip would be totally impossible. The pioneer life was new to them and they had fared pretty well until the sickness sweeping through their little community touched his beloved wife, Lillian. Time was short and he knew he had only two options: he could stay by her side until the grim reaper gathered her into his arms, or he could risk crossing the river on the ice to the store to get the medication required to save her. But he knew nothing about ice. Would it hold his weight? Could he make it to the other side and back in time? What to do? Better to give his life trying to save her than to see her suffer so terribly until death. He kissed her tenderly, stoked the fire, and softly closed the door as he left the cabin.

He stretched himself out on the ice, thinking that distributing his weight evenly would be the best way to assure himself that he could crawl across. Every tiny “creak” terrified him. He just knew the ice was breaking! When he was only a few yards out there was this horrible noise! The ice! It’s cracking! I can’t make it! It’s all over for me! God take Lillian quickly, please. Don’t let her suffer.

The noise came closer and he held his breath waiting to be crushed and thrust into the icy waters. But when he looked up, there was this wagon full of wood pulled by two stout horses galloping across the ice! He jumped up and down, shouting for joy and ran across the river…and they lived happily ever after.

Why was he jubilant? Why this sudden burst of confidence? What changed his fear to joy? Seeing someone else cross the ice before him, with a lot more weight than his.

God knows us, intimately. He knows every hurt, every joy, everything that we experience here on this earth that is controlled by His archenemy, Satan. And He has devised a plan, an ingenious plan, to help us through the trials, tribulations, and frustrations we face as pilgrims making our way to our “Forever Home.” What is His plan? He lets us see others facing circumstances like ours or even more stressful than ours and how they overcome. He lets a wagon full of wood pulled by two stout horses gallop by and we say, “They did it! They made it! It’s safe! Praise God!” And we jump for joy! Why? We still have to “cross the river on the scary ice” but someone has gone before us and proven to us just “how thick the ice is!’

So He gives us encouragement. He gives us strength. He says, “You have seen Me bring them safely through their crisis. Trust Me. I will do it all for you.”

I will do it all for you. Those words seem trite, it seems too easy, too void of the emotions that are ripping you apart. Well, read them again. I will do it all for you. Again. I will do it all for you. Who is saying that to you and to me? Is He ever jesting? Does He tease us with hope that He knows will never come to pass? Does He ever promise us something that He cannot fulfill?

Read the words one more time. I will do it all for you. And He will. He said He would. You and I are standing on ice so thick that nothing can shatter it, and someone is jumping for joy as they see you thundering across the frozen river! Thank You, Lord Jesus.

If you have been a little way ahead, O Friend, call back.

It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.

Call back and say that He went with you into the storm.

Call back and say He kept you when your heart was bruised and torn.

If you will say He saw you through the night’s tear-darkened sky’

If you will say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry’

If you have been a little way ahead,

Oh friend, call back.

It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.

–“Streams in the Desert” by L.B. Cowman

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.