Ice Queen – In from the cold

How did it get so cold…? I’m not prepared. Hadn’t even noticed until now. How far have I walked? Hours? Days? Months? I’m so lost, and so, so cold….

I’m surrounded by white points, glistening ice. Emptiness hits me with a sharpness that hurts. But I see a faint flicker of warm candlelight far away in the distance.

What’s happened? Don’t my family care that I’m missing? Haven’t they sent someone for me?

I dig my hands deep into my pockets, searching for any amount of warmth. Numb, I can just make out a small piece of torn paper, a tiny spark of warmth. Reading the words, I look around and see another piece of paper flutter against the white snow.

A trail of fragments that I can follow – if I just collect each piece.

Looking up, I see where this trail has led me. My church. I can see that there’s warmth and light in there. It’s almost emanating through the walls. I want to get inside, but there’s no handle on the door!

Watching and waiting for what seems like hours, I turn. Maybe I should just go back out into the ice. Maybe I can survive a little longer… Maybe I can get used to the cold…

That story is a great illustraton of us – when we go away from God – we think there is no hope and we rather walk away – so what do you do: find God? Or walk away?

Think of it in the same way you do when you’re unwell. You acknowledge you’re sick when you go to the doctor and have a few days off work or school because you need to get better. The same for church. Church is the Christian’s equivalent of a hospital. We’re all sick (sinners) and by going to church (our hospital) we acknowledge that we need healing from our doctor (God).

Going to church is essential for a healthy Christian life. So what’s stopping us? And how do we really know that we’re drifting?

Let’s check out some symptoms and assess if you’re feeling the cold:

The symptom: I’d rather spend the time on Facebook, Instagram, texting or playing games in church. I count down to when it’s all over.The diagnosis: Church should be a day of happiness where you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Don’t rely on just one day a week to have a relationship with God.   The treatment: To have a closer personal walk with Him, spend time every day. Start by reading a few verses or a chapter of the Bible each morning. Try Psalms or one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John).   “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” – Isiah 55:6 (NIV).
The symptom: I don’t pray anymore, and if I do it’s the same words, same prayer. I don’t even remember what I say. It’s meaningless.The diagnosis: Neglecting prayer is like neglecting breathing. It gives your life. Prayer is a Christian’s secret weapon.   The treatment: Start your day by thanking God. Change it up, though. You don’t always have to say the same things or make it overly complicated: Dear Jesus, Thank you for another day. Please help me get to school safely. Amen. Or, Dear Jesus, Thank you for the clothes I have and please help my grandma who’s been sick. Amen.   Talk to God about what is relevant in your life. As days turn to weeks, you’ll notice that your prayers become more meaningful again. You’ll find that talking to God first thing in the morning will have a peaceful effect on your day.   “Pray continually,give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (NIV).   Added vitamins: Try praying each night too
The symptom: I hate ______ (insert name of your least favourite church member here). He’s so hypocritical. He loves to point out all the things other people do wrong. I’d rather leave than be part of this hypocrisy.The diagnosis: Even although we’re told to reflect God, sadly, many people don’t – and we find hypocrites inside church, just as we do outside.   The treatment: Like us, they’re sinners too, so we have no right to judge either. They’ll be held accountable to God for their actions and words. Don’t be dismayed; pray for them because they’re blind to their behaviour. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” – Matthew7:1-3 (NIV). Added vitamins: Often it’s the unexpected people in church who are the least judgmental. Spend time with them.
The symptom: I want to have fun! I want to be young and free. Then I’ll come back to church. I just need to have my rebellious stage. God is forgiving, isn’t He?The diagnosis: For a start, thinking that you have to rebel to have ‘fun’ just isn’t true. You can have fun and know God, and if you can’t (because the fun you seek involves sin) consider the consequences. Sin is a very dangerous game.   The treatment: Pray about it and consider the people around you: are they helping you, or pulling you away from God? Surround yourself with those who will lead you closer to Jesus. Then find the fun things you can do without hurting yourself or others.   “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans6:22-23 (NIV).   “Bad company corrupts good character” – 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV).   Added vitamins: Try focusing on helping other people. You’ll feel an unexpected level of happiness and fulfilment that no amount of clubbing and drinking can compete with.
The symptom: The programs are boring, the people are boring, and the music is boring. My church is boring!The diagnosis: Is church really the problem? Boredom occurs when we stay at the edges and don’t get involved.    The treatment: Get involved in an area in your church where you can make a difference. If you like computers then get involved in an audio-visual aspect. If you like music, then get involved in the praise & worship team. Find your niche. You feel too young to make a difference? Age is no barrier if you want to work for God.   Added vitamins: Have a polite and candid chat about this with your elder or minister. Maybe they can change the program a bit to better meet the interests of the younger church members.

So you’ve just looked at a few of the ‘cold symptoms’ you might experience when you’re drifting from God. Do any of them describe how you’re feeling? If so, take steps to treat the cause. Whatever your situation, don’t be afraid because God offers redemption, forgiveness and love: I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me” – Jeremiah 33:8.

You’ll find that only one thing truly warms: the precious blood of the Jesus who came to die for us – who knew that we’d all need at least one second chance. He’ll never judge you or abandon you. He’ll love you and warm your heart so that you’ll never be cold again.

Get to know God. Try these great texts online:

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
    says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
    they shall be like wool.

John 15:9

 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

Matthew 26:28

So what happens to the girl in the icy wilderness? How can she possibly get back in if there’s no door handle? Well, the resolution to this story is totally up to YOU.A little hint though: If you push on that door, you’ll notice that it was never locked behind you when you left.

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