For five weeks last winter, I ministered in Michigan. I started in the Upper Peninsula at a place called Ontanagon, population under 500. For the first two weeks, I had few opportunities to hand out tracts. The weather was horrible! The first night I was there it was 15° below zero. I joked to a friend and said that the only ones to whom I could witness were the trees.
When I finally got down to the Detroit area, one day I decided to go to a local park and just walk around. As I walked through the lifeless forest, I could see just how much damage had been done by the recent ice storm. All the trees were bent and deformed because of the ice. It was as though I was walking through an enchanted forest made of crystal. As the wind blew through the trees, the ice would shatter and come crashing down all around me.
I noticed that a limb, once the ice fell on, would bend back to its original position and appear straight again. So I picked up a stick and started to knock the ice off some of the trees that were about to break under the pressure. As the ice came off, the tree would snap back to its upright position. It was glorious to see those trees stand up straight and tall again.
I prayed silently for a few minutes, and when I looked again at the trees, it seemed that God showed me something about myself, sin and salvation. The tree limbs are like us. We were created to grow tall and straight towards heaven. The ice is like the sin in our lives which causes us to bend over and grow down toward the ground. Now the ice on the trees was very beautiful and made the forest look very inviting, but if it had remained on the trees, it would have eventually killed them. As the sun came out and melted the ice, the trees were restored to their original positions. So it is with the Son who, when He takes away our sin, restores us to our original position with God.
Later that week, I had an opportunity to share the Gospel with a young man on a college campus. That afternoon he let Jesus melt away the ice in his life so he could begin to grow straight and tall again. I wonder how many of the people around us still have their limbs weighted down with the ice of sin, − have not let Jesus take the burden. Pray that spring would blossom in their lives, too.
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