Do you ever think about the freshwater fish stuck under the ice through the winter, and wonder what they’re up to? I never thought much about it until we lived in a house that came with a koi pond. It had two large koi, and several large goldfish. Every winter the pond would freeze over, but we could still see the fish moving on the bottom, slow as molasses.
Here’s your science lesson for today:
- The frozen ice on top of the water acts as an insulator, actually helping the water below stay a bit warmer.
- Warmer fresh water sinks to the bottom of the cold pond, and that’s where the fish congregate.
- The metabolism of the fish slows down in the winter much like ours, but to a much greater extent! There’s no coming inside to warm up by the fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa. Instead, their heart rate slows, they need less food and oxygen, and their activity level drops dramatically.
What does this have to do with our faith?
Have you ever gone through a winter season in your faith? It may have been after a major life event, or you simply got stuck in a rut and felt numb to life in general. Perhaps you’re there today.
I want to encourage you!
- As the water beneath the ice is insulated from below-freezing temperatures above, the Christ follower is sheltered by God. “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him…He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” (Psalm 91:1,2,4 NLT) You may not have any idea what’s going on “out there,” but God’s got you! Your soul is safe in him. Take time to rest in knowing that your life is in his hands, and there alone you are safe.
- Just as the fish congregate at the bottom of the pond where it’s warm, so we need to remain faithful to consistently spending time with other believers. Jesus promised, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20) Spending time with other followers of Christ brings you closer to Christ himself. If your emotions don’t line up with this truth and you find yourself doubting, remember that your emotions are fickle and will often lead you astray. “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9). If you are human, you can’t depend on your feelings. Faith is not an emotion!
- You must know and accept that you can’t live on a mountaintop with God your whole life through. There are valleys in life that we must pass through, but we never travel them alone. Our shepherd goes with us, whether we are fully aware of him or not. Read through Psalm 23 slowly, and take time to identify which verse speaks to where you are in life at this moment.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.”
Life has seasons to it, and your Shepherd knows where you are. He will lead you through this season and into the next. You can trust his unfailing love and his goodness, no matter what dark valley you may travel through. And when this life comes to an end and you graduate, you can have peace knowing that you “will live in the house of the LORD forever!”
Take courage, friend!