Finally breaking through

Every time I drive across town, I pause to look.  Around town, you hear people making predictions of when it’s going to happen.  In fact, you can guess the date in a community-wide friendly wager.  And as soon as something starts to happen, status updates are made on Facebook: “The river’s going out!  The river’s going out!”

Prior to living in Glendive, located on the Yellowstone River which freezes over every winter, I’ve never before lived somewhere that you can so visibly see the advent of spring.  It is truly exciting and rather overwhelming to see a large river be transformed in a matter of days, if not hours, from solid ice, to free-flowing water with massive ice chunks bobbing along like toy boats in a bathtub.

Today produced the first announcement of the river going out.  Much of the ice broke up and the river began flowing, albeit slowly and incompletely.  In just a few days most of the ice chunks will have traveled down river, and it will be nearly impossible to remember that it was once solid ice.

As I reflected on the river finally breaking up after a long, hard winter, it occurred to me just how similar that is with our own lives.  We may persevere and persist through a problem without any apparent change or growth.  We’re tempted to give up, convinced nothing will ever change.  There seems no solution or hope in sight, until finally, almost miraculously and unexpectedly, changes come.   We wonder why today, of all days, was any different than yesterday or the day before, or the week before.  Why today did something finally break through?

The reality is that change and growth take time.  Just like the river breaking up, we cannot see what is happening below the surface, but we must trust that something is.  None of the visible change can happen without the tiresome, invisible work.

That reminds me of a persistent widow who continually went before an unjust judge making her request.  Eventually the judge, tired of her doggedness, grants her request.  (You can read the details of this story in Luke 18:1-8)  What is it in your life that you’re desiring to change?  Be persistent.  Go before the Lord continually with your request.  Persevere despite the fact it appears you’re getting nowhere.

Because one day when you least expect it, you’ll shout with great joy – the river’s going out!