I live in an old house that is not insulated very well. Usually, here in Wisconsin, we see quite a lot of snow every winter. If I don’t promptly remove the snow that accumulates on my roof, with a long-pole roof rake, heat, escaping through my ceiling, melts that snow. As it does, the eaves develop large icicles.
When you look at icicles you generally think of cold, but icicles are also a sign of heat! If there’s no melting there can be no icicles. The melt-off from my roof begins to drip. Sometimes those drips don’t detach and fall quickly enough and freeze in place. After this process is repeated time and again, long and ornate icicles are created.
Sometimes I’m actually glad when I don’t get to the roof quickly enough. Icicles are things of beauty! I’ve had icicles 4-5 feet long, sometimes with 3 or 4 spires. When this happens I try to remove them in one piece and stand them upside down in a snow drift. It can look like a beautiful ice castle!
But icicles also turn my mind to spiritual things. We all have times when our faith is challenged and tested. We may find ourselves struggling to grow, like a tree in the dead of winter. Snow piles up around us and on top of us, and we feel cold. Sometimes we feel as though there is no life left in us at all.
But then something happens. The life of Christ rises up in us and begins to melt the snow. It may only be a little at first, and we may hardly notice. Then things seem to get cold again. And then Jesus warms our hearts again. Drip. Drip. Dr…. This may take some time.
Then slowly we begin to notice something shiny and new. Icicles are forming. They are only there because, in the midst of our bleak spiritual winter, the love of Jesus has been warming our hearts. Sure, there’s still the cold, but we can now begin to see the work that He is doing in us. Somehow the cold has less effect on us. He has found a way to bring beauty from our pain.
And when the first shoots of green grass begin to peek our from beneath the snow in spring, we find the sunlight again! We have received comfort from the Lord so that we can comfort others. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ESV, emphasis mine).
So, whenever you see an icicle, remind yourself of the wonderful and gracious work that God has wrought in you in and through your hard times. Be thankful that He saw you through the cold. Then remind yourselves why He did it. Put your icicles on display!