Slaying Ice Giants (and other Christian pursuits)

I’m riding in the back of an Uber through lower Manhattan. The Sunday morning sun is blazing already and its light touches everything – tops of cars zipping by, people moving along the grid as one unit, buildings reaching for the sky like fingers. Every surface shimmers white hot. 

While the world warms, the questions of my mind are stuck in place, immovable, frozen with fear. They are questions like, how did this THING become a giant in my life? why has Anxiety loomed over the recent days and weeks, like one of those ice statues guarding the White Witch’s castle? Because I can see it for what it is, even if I am powerless against it. 

And then, like the warm light of the sun coming through the car window, the voice of the Lord comes to my heart: You of little faith, why are you so afraid?

All it takes is a question, from the One who is Light (and in Him there is no darkness at all). The root is electrified for what it is and I can see all the way down. I can see it clearly; anxiety over my circumstance is merely a symptom of the deeper thing, the chilly grip of Fear clutching my heart. It is here, at the root, that Jesus’ question illuminates the truth —I am afraid because I lack faith, the kind of faith that will slay the ominous, lying tongue of an Ice Giant. 

The author of Hebrews writes,

“Therefore faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see…and without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Heb. 11:1, 6

The paradox (and blunt simplicity) of this scripture makes me smile; faith is like, so easy, right? All you have to do is be sure as rain (or sure as shootin’?) that what you hope is true IS actually the truth and be sure (or certain!) that God exists because otherwise, you cannot please Him. 

Yes. Yes, that’s it! Faith is not something I can figure out because that exercise lives only in the mind, and the Ice Giants LOVE to hang out there. Faith must be more like something experienced, or received, like a dream that comes to you with all of its vivid detail only now the dream is Reality. Faith is holy yearning, part invitation, part revelation.

It is the longing of mortal Abraham “for a better country-a heavenly one” and the response of eternal God, “therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (v. 16). God rewards those who earnestly seek Him because He gives the yearning, and He satisfies it with Himself. He is the beginning and the end of all things!

I hate to say it now, at the end of this nice letter, but I must remind you—our circumstances might not change. We may still have to face fear, in whatever form it comes, especially if the true light of God shines from our lives in increasing measure (and therefore, threatens the darkness surrounding us). It’s just how things are for now. We are yet caught in the fray. 

But here is what I want to leave you with: 

  1. Our circumstances are temporary. All of this is temporary and we begin to overcome once we realize and accept this truth (see v. 36-38).
  2. Faith isn’t something I can conjure up (Just Say No to witchcraft) but must be desired, earnestly asked for, and received in humility. 
  3. Fear might be tailing us, but once true faith is received -that sweet and terrifying revelation of Christ as the deepest reality- this kind of faith will destroy fear every time. Both now, in our everyday experience, and eternally. Glory to God! 

Ultimately, while we contend in our temporal cities of metal and stone, we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our brother Abraham, always looking toward the horizon: “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (v.10). I can almost see it, can you? 

Published by Sara Beth Longenecker

Sara Beth Longenecker is a writer and blogger based in Nashville, TN. She helps women sort through the noise of our culture by bringing them truth, beauty, and everyday theology.

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