Weeks of record low temperatures of – 42, – 26,-17,-11 are causing a freezing phenomenon. Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory reports that the lakes are now more than 85 % iced over. The world’s most famous waterfall, Niagara Falls is frozen enough that professional Canadian ice climber, Will Gadd, was able to climb to the top of the frozen left side. It is not supposed to thaw until May. Even in the Texas Hill Country are recent reports of trees iced over creating a winter wonderland effect that rivals the graphics in the movie “Frozen”.
We know according to Webster’s Intercollegiate Dictionary that frozen means the state of “being treated, affected, crusted over by freezing; subject to long, severe cold – ‘north’” This certainly fits the frozen, iced over conditions of nature mentioned above.
But, is water the only thing that freezes? Evidently not.
Webster’s Intercollegiate Dictionary also offers that frozen can mean: “drained or incapable of emotion; expressing or characterized by cold unfriendliness; incapable of being changed, moved, or undone: fixed.”
Looking at this meaning of frozen, I see a parallel here spiritually. Could it be that there is such a thing as “soul freeze”? And, when this happens it is as if all shuts down. You feel flat, drained and almost incapable of offering any kindness to anyone – frozen.
This has nothing to do with a believer’s salvation or one’s certainty of forgiveness as the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesian church carefully points out. We know if we have believed in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for our sins that we are forgiven forever and have an eternity to look forward to in His Presence. Our souls are saved.
But in the meantime, before eternity we still live and live in bodies and live with our flesh. Even though we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit we can still “grieve the Spirit” by things we do (Ephesians 4:30) and “quench the spirit by things we don’t do” (I Thessalonians 5:19) .
In the middle of the Lent journey to Easter it would be well to continue considering the state of our souls. We can ask the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds and hearts to the specific things that might be causing “ a freeze”- a soul freeze (John 14:16-17, 26; 16:12-15).
What is causing the distance from God and from others, the critical spirit, the irritability, the sense of isolation? Do “frozen souls” come from too much busyness? from unresolved conflicts?from subconscious under the waterline strategies to protect ourselves from pain? from strategies to make our lives work apart from God?
The most blessed thing is that Jesus offers a permanent invitation to come, to return, to thaw out, to ask forgiveness and to rest in His grace, mercy and kindness – paid for by His own blood on the cross. Responding to His invitation to come is a simple choice to respond (Matthew 11:28-30). When we do, we begin to thaw out from “the freeze” and oh, how grateful our souls are. There is the freedom and joy that comes from walking in the Spirit…until the next “soul freeze” and the cycle begins again. Return, repent, rejoice.
May each of us begin to spend more time in the warmth of HIs Presence and resist the tempation to live in the soul freezing shadows of the flesh.