God the Icebreaker
November 15, 2017 | by: Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: Theology
On June 16, 2016 the Arktika was launched. Yup. It’s a new class of icebreaking ships ordered to be built by the Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom. It’s basically a 568 feet long mammoth of raw power, bringing 80,000 hp (that’s 60 megawatts) to break through ice almost ten feet thick! It will open up routes for convoys of ships that would be otherwise impassable.*
Icebreaking ships have always fascinated me from the time I was a young boy. I remember watching T.V. and being mesmerized when it showed these behemoths crush their way with brute force through recalcitrant ice in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans. I even fantasized about being an icebreaker captain at the helm of one of these enormous hunks of floating steel. What a sensation it would have been, hunkering ahead with determination and causing existential angst to a frozen opponent.
The success of an icebreaking ship actually rests on its specific hull design, built for a specific purpose. That, with the advantage of weight, size and power allows it to slip over meters-thick ice. As the ship glides over the ice, its weight comes mercilessly down on the ice sheet-- crushing it. As the ship plods forwards, the shattered ice is shoved aside, leaving an open path for other ships.
Icebreaking is a compelling picture of how God works in human hearts. In weight, God has the overwhelming “weight of His glory”, in size He encompasses everything in existence, and His power is inexhaustible. God can be a shattering Icebreaker as Paul learned on the Damascus Road when His stony heart was pulverized by Jesus, opening a channel for God’s forgiveness (Acts 9:3-6). And, yet, God also melts hearts to make a clear path for His love and grace. He is the Maestro when it comes rhetorical icebreakers. I think of his icebreaking with the Samaritan woman at the well that opens the path for a larger dialogue to demonstrate that Jesus has come to change hearts.
Of course, we’re not talking about lifeless ice. But the human heart--what we think of as the seat of emotions, thoughts, and the will directed by them. Whether like an icebreaking vessel or an icebreaker remark, God has and continues to crack open hearts with the revelation of Himself.
In the end, the heart without God is like ten feet thick ice. Despite this, and on the one hand, like a thickly layered chunk of frozen water, a person never knows what’s coming to fracture their conceitedly solid and impregnable heart condition (John 3:8). When that condition is penetrated by God there is then a path for His grace to enter and bring you to the end for which you were divinely destined “before the foundation of the world”--to be in an eternally loving relationship with Him. On the other hand, God makes His love, grace and mercy available to be freely chosen by the heart that is melted by God the Father’s love. He demonstrates it by providing His Son for the hardest of hearts, and the Spirit to affirm that a cardiac procedure of cosmic proportions has taken place. What happens is God’s grace in His cruciform hull either descends and confrontationally wallops as in Paul’s case or delicately deconstructs thinking and behavior as with the Samaritan woman at the well. Think about it. The Second Person of the Trinity’s icebreaker is, “Will you give me a drink?” (John 4:7c; NIV84), Jesus meets folks where they’re at.
Where is the “at” place? And where do we find ourselves “at”? In God’s redemptive story He promises to clear the channel for His love and grace. He has done so with the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross. So, what is it? Is God smashing through icy, compacted, heart resistance for the first time? Is He gradually melting your heart with a pathway for His love? Or, has your heart frozen over where “springs of Christ’s living water” once freely flowed through it bringing unimagined joy in your faith?
Consider our heavenly Icebreaker whose hull design is in the shape of the Cross, whose weight of God’s glory bears on your heart where you’re at and promises you endless joy.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26, NIV84)
Dave Maniquis is a Gospel Partner at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.