It’s hard to see things under the surface of water. The light and waves distort what we see. Water warps and bends and changes our perspective on things that are just barely under the surface. Sometimes it’s very difficult to see what’s only a few inches below the surface, let alone several feet.
An iceberg might weigh several thousand tons but it only shows forty feet of its pinnacle above the water. No one would ever know how big it truly is unless they go under the surface of the water to get a better look. A dorsal fin sticking out of the water could be a variety of things but the angle of the water doesn’t always give a clear view to see what’s under the surface. It could be a dolphin. It could be a shark.
People can hide things very easily, you, me, we all hide things. It’s almost an art form how carefully people disguise and veil some of our biggest weaknesses and insecurities. If we really knew how many burdens and anxieties people are carrying just under the surface of their exteriors, we’d probably be amazed.
Sometimes we show just a tip of our struggles in our lives, like an iceberg coming out of the water. Maybe it happens in a tense moment, maybe it’s a sharp comeback, or maybe it’s something as simple as a deflated sigh. We might not know how big a struggle is in someone else’s life. We might not know how big that type of an iceberg is in the sea of their soul. They might be doing everything they can to avoid wrecking their life on that one struggle.
What’s under the surface of someone’s life can be a dangerous, shocking, and messy discovery. Years of pain and hurt and disappointment may be what’s lying just underneath someone’s exterior and we wouldn’t know how tired they are of struggling by themselves unless we ask to see deeper into their lives.
Don’t force it though, don’t try to be someone’s savior and fill the role that only Jesus can. Maybe it’s actually caring about someone’s answer to a simple question, “How are you?” Maybe it’s pulling someone aside in a private way and asking a non-threatening question about a comment they made. It’s wanting to see what’s below the surface because you care about them, regardless of whether they share with you or not.
It’s one thing to dismiss an off-comment, or two or three, as someone having a bad day. The challenge is truly caring about whether it’s an off-day or just the tip of the iceberg. It’s about letting God open your eyes to see what’s under the surface.