Each little branch of every single tree in our neighborhood was lined in ice, and glistening. It made the whole world look shiny. And in the beauty I forgot all was frozen. Then I saw the drips of water, coming fast in the warming sun.
It's a wonder I was even able to stay on the road. My feet kept carrying me on the three mile path, but my eyes were riveted to the right and left, trying to see the power of warmth and light bringing what was ice-covered and frozen back to life. It struck me as prayer, the thought coming fast: "I wonder if this is what it is like when we pray?" I pictured what intercession must look like in heaven, when we wrap the Love and Light of Jesus around those we care about, when our hands are helpless and all we can do is let the ache of our hearts reach across chasms to comfort those we long for. At first glance the ice doesn't look like it is going anywhere. The frozen gleam holds fast. But if you stop looking at the tree branches and look carefully below them, you see the truth. That ice is really turning to water, and quickly it falls away.
I am stunned by the clarity of the Revelation: When we sit still in the Love of God it accomplishes something in us we may not even realize. One day our limbs and life are all locked up in a frozen captivity. Then one day we wake up free. Sometimes it breaks off of us all at once. Sometimes it is the patient drip, drip, drip of our prison falling away from us.
I am stunned when I consider its message for me. Because I realize my life is the tree that got melted, that was liberated from a deep freeze. One day something within me just woke up happy. And I began asking myself the question I cannot let go of: What is the greater miracle? For God to give us what we long for, or for God to give us a heart that longs for what we already have?
God can certainly do both.
The song that comes to mind was actually the one we played as our bridal party walked into the church at our wedding:
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;Different times of our lives call for different miracles. But we always assume the first one is the one we most need. Like scales dropping from my eyes I realize God has given me the second one, and I am so deeply grateful.
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!
I walk gingerly in this awareness. Because I know that any day's needs may necessitate the other kind of miracle, the kind where I need God to do something radical, something new, something that remedies the circumstances we are in rather than the heart that perceives them.
But of course, even those kind of miracles still produce a change in us.
Because God is all about melting away prisons, drip by simple drip.