Have you ever walked across a frozen pond? As a Floridian-turned-Texan, I haven’t had much opportunity for that experience. The first time I saw such a thing, though, God used it to teach me an important lesson.
I was on one of those “come-see-our-college” visits, mulling over all those things one tries to figure out as high school comes to an end. For example:
- Is this the school for me?
- What major should I declare?
- What kind of job would suit me?
- Should my high school sweetheart become a long distance romance?
These questions didn’t excite me. They bothered me, taking away my peace. I wanted all the answers right away. As I sat in a quiet spot thinking and praying (and, sad to say, fretting), I caught sight of a pond half a block away. I didn’t hear an audible voice, but knew that I knew I needed to get a closer look. Fair enough. Every Southerner ought to see outside ice up close once in a while.
I bundled up and walked over to the pond, happy to have seen a real live ice sheet in person. But then another nudge came. “Walk over and step on it.” Now that was just weird. I was a high school senior trying to look like I fit in on a college campus. Crunching my way through the frozen grass to the water’s edge would not look cool. What purpose could that possibly serve? But crunch through I did, and when I stepped on the icy edge, the crystal sheet shattered. As it did, I learned this lesson:
If I try to walk across a thinly iced pond, I will never make it to the other side. Instead, I’ll just end up wet, cold and frustrated. In time, though, ice thickens and hardens and provides safe passage. God’s timing is like that. If I try to make all my decisions too early, to push ahead before the proper time, I only end up cold and frustrated. But once God prepares my path, or “makes the ice hard,” I can walk across on solid ground.
I chose that school, graduated, got a job and married my sweetheart, but that wasn’t the end of big decisions and challenging moments. Those never end, do they? The lesson I learned that day has stayed with me all these years. When life is overwhelming me, sometimes I just need to be patient, to take my needs to the Lord who loves me, and wait on his timing. That’s always a better plan than walking on thin ice.