Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Ice Storm

On Tuesday, January 4, 2005, the worst ice storm in decades hit Wichita. Over three quarters of an inch of ice coated the area, downing power lines and plunging more than 60,000 homes and businesses into darkness. The icy outdoors created a surreal fantasy world, with homes, grass, trees, streets, and mailboxes painted with a clear, icy glaze.Trees bent over, their limbs dragging the ground under their heavy loads. Many, unable to bear the load, snapped, littering roofs, yards, sidewalks and streets with their crystal branches. By Saturday, the clouds cleared, and the sun on nature’s ice castles sparkled brilliantly, their prisms of ice flinging crystal colors everywhere.

By Saturday afternoon, feeling housebound, I ventured outdoors to watch the sun glisten off the icy trees. In my backyard, everything drooped under the weight of the ice—according to newscasters the ice was four times the weight of the trees it covered. The mulberry trees bent so far over from the weight of the ice, the tips of their branches brushed the snow-covered ground. I stood in the middle of the back yard and gazed at the trees surrounding me. The sun, striking the ice-covered branches, turned my back-yard world brilliant, but what really struck me were all the new sounds. As I stood there watching and listening, a whole chorus sang .The main melody: the constant drip, drip, drip of water falling from thousands of icicles. All around me I heard this constant dripping as the sun melted the ice. With the breeze, the click and clack of ice-covered branches brushing each other added to the tune. Plop! I turned and looked behind me at trembling tree branches, freed from their weight of ice. Every few seconds I heard another plop as chunks of ice tumbled to the ground. Occasionally a loud crashing resounded as a larger ice fragment hit the branch below and tumbled from branch to branch before landing on the softer earth. Looking at the ash tree by the corner of our vegetable garden, I witnessed hundreds of drops glistening in the late afternoon sun and plopping to the ground; the tree wept. Soon I noticed the lower branches of the mulberry tree no longer touched the ground. I wondered how long it would take before all the ice melted from the trees, and the branches, freed from their burden, and would once more reach heavenward.

How often do our souls become ice-coated? We are burdened and bent over, not with the weight of ice, but with the weight of our guilt and our sins. Heavy with guilt, we labor to lift our arms heavenward. Some, unable to bear this burden, snap and break. Others merely look down, unable to praise God. Fortunately, we can eliminate the burdens weighing us down. Like the sun shining on the ice-laden trees, God’s grace frees us from our burdens. When in repentance we sincerely beg God’s Son to shine his light of forgiveness, the hard shell of guilt begins to crack and stir. Soon, tears of gratitude flow, just like the weeping trees. Before long, the hard shells of ice coating our souls come crashing down. Soon we can once again raise our arms heavenward, look up and praise our maker
Father, thank you for taking away my heavy burden of guilt.

Psalm 38:4 “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”

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