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When I Fell Through the Ice Yesterday

When I Fell Through the Ice Yesterday

Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. Revelation 3:4

Yesterday afternoon, I sat in my hot tub, watching my dog explore out on the frozen lake. It may be April, but it’s still winter here. As I was watching the dog, he suddenly disappeared, falling through an apparent thin spot on the ice. He swam for all he was worth, trying to get out, but he just kept sliding back under water. I jumped out of the tub, ran out on the lake barefoot, got down on my hands, knees, and eventually crawled on my belly to him. The hole he’d made grew as he broke away the edges trying to get out and when I reached for him, he panicked and swam away from me. I crept closer until suddenly I also went through the ice. Fortunately, it was only up to my neck, so I could touch bottom, lift the dog out, and then claw my way out as well.

As we struggled through the 2 feet of snow back up to the house, I had the sudden thought that I didn’t want my wife to know I’d fallen through the ice. Anyone who saw us at that moment would have quickly figured out what happened though. There was a big hole in the ice, and we were both soaking wet. There was no hiding this. We were literally covered in lake.

This is similar to the metaphor Christ used in today’s passage. In it, he addressed the church in Sardis, most of whom were physically alive but spiritually dead. Some in that church though truly lived what they believed. Christ described those as people who have not soiled their garments. The rest had abused Christ’s gift of grace, following the culture around them, staining themselves with sin.

In coming to faith, Jesus does lift us out of the mud, cleanses us from sin, and clothes us in pure white (Revelations 7:13-14). He gives us new life, but if we choose, we may return to the old life, crawling back into the muck and soiling our pure garments. We may call ourselves Christians and we may claim to follow Christ, but what does it mean when we’ve returned to the old life, immersed ourselves in it, and find that it’s dripping off us?

Jesus said that pure and undefiled religion is to keep ourselves unstained from the world (James 1:27). If we truly follow Christ, it’s our job to daily abandon our self-destructive nature so we may follow him and his will. In keeping with my original ice story, it’s now our job to keep off the thin ice – unless we want to find ourselves covered in freezing lake water.

2 Responses

  1. Nancy Murphy says:

    I have been reading your posts for about two years, and have “saved” many of them. You are also on my prayer list. My husband and I spent 32 years in Willmar, and raised our two (adopted) children there.

    I Just wanted you to know that your posts are a welcome blessing to many of us – especially those of us whose lives have been affected by addiction. Your honest and transparent heart shows through in your creative writing.

    Thank you!

    • Scott says:

      Thanks Nancy, I always appreciate the feedback and encouragement. I never know who’s out there reading until they tell me!

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