Recently I had an unusual picture while praying. I saw a person leaping from one piece of cracked ice to the next. These thin pieces of ice were floating on deep water as they melted and rapidly became thinner and more fragile.
I held my breath watching this picture, knowing that at any moment the ice was going to crack and the person fall through it. That person could first and foremost be myself!
Obviously the question arose; why this picture and why see it now?
It seemed that the implied message was that we are moving now into a new season, and into much deeper waters. To be able to swim and survive in deep waters we need to be unencumbered and have strength for the long haul! If we fall into deep water we have to discard heavy footwear and clothing - in fact anything that isn't absolutely necessary - in order to lighten up and swim well.
How did this relate to the guy on the thin ice? Well, it seemed that he thought he didn't need to do much more than jump from one piece to another in order to survive, and wasn't prepared to take some time to take stock of his situation or the changing climate.
At the beginning of this year the Lord encouraged us to 'seek wisdom' for this time, and perhaps wisdom would dictate that changing seasons are time to take stock and see that we are well prepared for the next one.
Maybe these are the times to make sure the foundations in our lives are strong enough to take us through the coming changes. If you are going to add another level to your house you first check that the existing foundations can take it's weight.
I wonder if in the Christian family we are looking at the outworking of something called The Peter Principle, which Wikipedia describes like this:
The Peter Principle is the principle that "In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence." While formulated by Dr. Laurence J Peter and Raymond Hull in their 1968 book The Peter Principle, a humorous treatise which also introduced the "salutary science of Hierarchiology", "inadvertently founded" by Peter, the principle has real validity. It holds that in a hierachy, members are promoted so long as they work competently. Sooner or later they are promoted to a position at which they are no longer competent (their "level of incompetence"), and there they remain. Peter's Corollary states that "in time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out his duties" and adds that "work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence".
I am not suggesting that we should live in a hierachy, but that some of what this suggests can apply to our personal lives. God uses us all for His purpose and is not looking for perfection, but I do believe He is always looking for flexibility and willingness to be clay in His hands.
If the ice is going to melt under my feet, then I want to be able to swim.