I’ve never been ice skating. It seems a little intimidating to attempt gliding along on sharp, thin metal blades while trying not to bust my butt. Plus I’d probably have to wear a helmet. Not very cool.
One day while I was pondering grace with God I envisioned a frozen pond in the country. A wide assortment of people had descended upon this natural winter funland for the day. Although there was random chaotic sliding and skating and falling and laughter – curiously there was also one group who were not on the ice. They gathered ceremoniously in packs near the banks of the pond. They were dressed for the occasion with winter hats, coats, gloves and scarves, but they weren’t participating. What they were doing was really kind of strange. They were pointing. Then mumbling. Then pointing again. Then murmuring. They would get as close to the ice as possible with an outstretched arm toward those who were skating by as if to rescue them from a seeming natural disaster. They were pleading with them to no avail. Those on the ice paid them very little attention. Once in a while a small group of ice-revelers would invitingly wave the side-liners to join the fun. But no. They would politely decline and then look on and point at the ice again.
See, the side-liners were very worried. Worried for themselves and worried for their friends on the ice. They were convinced that the others were literallyskating on thin ice. Even though not a single person had ever fallen through, they just knew it couldn’t be safe. The whole lot of them, dressed for fun and festivity, came out every day to the side of the pond and discussed why it wasn’t safe to go out there. It just wasn’t. Better to stay on the side and point, murmur and condemn with an obligatory reach-out to help than to flitter around with that indecent lot on the ice.
What they didn’t realize was, this pond was special. It was always frozen. And not just a thick layer. This pond was frozen solid all the way to the bottom of the deepest parts. It never cracked and it never broke. The other group, the revelers, they knew that. They never even gave it a second thought while they slid down the snow-covered hill onto the pond all the way across to the other side, crashing playfully into some of the side-liners. “Hey come on out, it’s totally frozen solid bro,”they’d say.
“No no,” the side-liners said. Are you crazy? You guys are going to get hurt, you know.”
The ice-revelers knew better. They may slip and fall and crack an elbow, or even fall into each other and get a bloody lip every so often. But nothing about that ice was going to falter. They never feared falling through.
Our Father is like that pond. His nature towards us is perpetually solid. His grace will not crack or bust or allow us to fall through. We may bang an elbow or chip a tooth in our revelry, but we will never….NEVER fall hard enough to crack the ice of God’s forever grace. This is Truth. And this truth divides God’s people into two groups. We either play like revelers or we point like accusing worried Pharisees.
Those who know and trust the Father’s grace hear Him say, “Hey, let’s go skating and sliding.” Those who rely on their own performance don’t trust God. They hear a voice in their head say, “Let’s be safe today,”and then attribute it to God.
An excerpt from Why Church Sucks and No One Really Wants to Go.