Jack and I are once again prowling the beach in a foot of snow. As I stepped over the top of the dune this morning, my boot sunk in deep enough to fill it, a chilly feeling. Nevertheless, the vista was gorgeous.
While we were in Florida, the monster snow mounds that had been so formidable have shrunk considerably. Although Mary and I confidently walked on the first two “ice-ranges”, we dared not venture out to three and four. Now the situation is more unstable than ever as Lake Michigan is again churning, eating away at the icy foundations under the snow.
Truth be told, the water beneath what appeared to be sturdy ice all winter was never stable. As we tentatively stepped onto what looked rock-solid, the ice could easily have turned into floating icebergs. Crevices and cracks in the surface that were visible clued us into what was happening underneath. As the local creek flowed from the woods toward the lake like it has for centuries, it ducked under the ice but never stopped flowing.
As Mary said at the time, “We see it moving in the woods, heading for the lake. It has to go somewhere, but where?” It was invisible.
Now, with the icy snow in mid-melt, we see. The water movement was no less real when it was invisible, but we doubted its reality. Massive chunks of glacier-like mini-cliffs are “calving” into the lake now, testifying to the state of flux that always existed. Mary was right. The water had been heading for the lake directly under our feet, gently, slowly, but steadily flowing. And moving water always carves away at what’s nearby.
Much of life is about the invisible. Emotions, thoughts, promises, the future. God, too, is invisible. After thinking about it, I’m inclined to believe the most critical part of life is what’s happening under the surface. Whatever’s going on beneath our outward exterior is the foundation of who we are. And interestingly, our unseen-ness eventually becomes seen.
If we cheat when no one is watching, eventually we get caught. If we overeat, even in secret, eventually we get fat. If we harbor hatred toward someone, eventually we explode. If we walk on ice with water flowing beneath it, eventually we fall in the lake. If we never spend time with God, eventually we’ll be far from him. Reality is about the “eventually”.
It’s so difficult for us to believe the invisibles. As my boot filled with snow and my foot got cold, I knew many people were walking around in flip-flops in climates that were sweltering. But when my feet were freezing, their warmth wasn’t real.
If we don’t believe in the invisibles, we’ll miss out on a great deal of what’s important. As for me, I still struggle with believing what I can’t see except for one thing. Long ago I decided to put my trust in the unseen God. Watching what he orchestrates on my local beach is enough to make me a believer. But there are other reasons I depend on him, like the many changed lives that are visible, people who make every move based on the personal lordship of that same God and then live victoriously.
As I paced through the weeks of Nate’s cancer last fall and now walk through the months of widowhood, my invisible God has sustained me and provided for me in a thousand visible ways. How could I ever doubt that he’s really there?
”Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)