On Thin Ice

"See to it, [sisters], that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first."
Hebrews 3:12-14 (New International Version)

A young puppy and her master went out for a walk on a very cold day in a northern state. The puppy was bounding with energy and playfulness. The path the two took was in the woods along a river bank. The dog chased every squirrel in sight and barked joyfully at the shadows cast by the sun on the frozen snow that covered the ground.

The master had to keep a close eye on the young dog because he did not know how solid the ice on the river had become. The puppy, completely ignorant of the danger, had to be reminded many times during the walk to stay close to her master, who knew the consequences of the dog running out on thin ice. She continued to frolic at his heels until he turned his eye away for a moment.

As though pulled by a magnet, the puppy turned from her master's side and bounded down to the riverbank before he knew she was gone. Deaf to her master's cries of warning, she bounded onto the edge of the frozen river. Her master ran as quickly as he could to the river's edge on the bank and gently tried to coax her back from the middle of the river where she had scampered out to. She looked at him directly in the eye, as if weighing the option and seriously considering obeying for a moment. During that split second of time, her master called her name and told her to come to him. She did not see the huge, open section of rushing water just several hundred feet away from where she was standing.

Taking a final look at him, the puppy took off running on the ice, but not towards the voice calling her name. Instead, she ran straight for the open hole. Before she even realized what was happening, the ice gave way several feet short of the rushing water. Terror filled her cries as her small body plunged into the frigid water. She was no match for the current that swept her away under the ice.

Girlfriend, how thin is the ice today that you and I are walking on? We never get in over our heads overnight. The walk is so subtle to the rushing waters that we can actually believe that we are still on the riverbank. And we never get there without deliberately disobeying and blocking out the voice of our Master. How does the word Master sit with us? The very word used to make me cringe. Something in me used to rebel at the thought of not being able to control my own destiny. I thought that was where real freedom was, not having to answer for my actions and being able to do whatever I wanted to do. How foolish.

Our God is not a killjoy. The most freedom I have ever experienced is under His authority. Why? Because in Him is no darkness at all. He has no ulterior motive, only my best at the core of who He is. Those warnings that He faithfully gives that I may choose to ignore are never to rob me of my fun. They are to protect me and those I love. But I can be like the foolish puppy, so ignorant of the dark, swirling waters that will pull me under before I even know what happened.

We cannot afford to ignore Him. It will mean death to us in some way. Let's listen to His voice and come back to the safety of His presence, as far away as we can run from the thin ice.

Jesus, thank You for Your Holy Spirit who convicts and warns. A wise woman listens and obeys. Help me to be that wise woman.