The possibility of frozen precipitation hadn’t been mentioned in the last forecast I had heard. Apparently a lot of other people had missed it, as well, from the surprised comments I heard as shoppers brushed flakes off their clothing as they came in and stomped their feet on the mats in the doorway. But surprise soon turned to consternation as the snowflakes quickly covered the roads, then melded together in the frigid temperatures and high winds to become a solid sheet of ice.
The resultant driving difficulties were soon reported by people who were caught out in the bad weather and came slipping and sliding on into the store; cars off the road, traffic tie-ups, coworkers calling in to say they’d be late because they were stuck on the very road I needed to take to get home. The dispatch radio on the shoulder of the policeman on security duty that night cackled incessantly as he tried to give advice to customers about to head out the door.
“Which way do you have to go?” he’d ask, and then warn them that hills were especially slick and people were having trouble getting up them, forcing them to turn around when their spinning wheels could get no traction.
The store soon emptied out as people eventually stopped venturing out under the bad weather conditions. Soon we had more workers than people to wait on. Told I could leave early, I was suddenly not so sure I wanted to go. The constant stream of driving horror stories by those coming into the building had made me doubt that I wanted to head out. Since I had a grocery list of my own in my pocket, I decided to delay my departure with that and give the salt trucks a little while to work on the roads.
As I pushed my shopping cart down the now deserted aisles I remembered that my husband would likely be driving home as well from his weekly Bible study home meeting. Knowing he shouldn’t even look at his phone while driving, I yet shot him a text message asking him if he was okay and what the roads were like, secretly hoping he’d call me back and say, “Stay where you are - I’m coming to get you.”
That didn’t happen. He did call, but he said the roads weren’t so bad, and definitely navigable. “You can do this,” he said. “Just take it slow.”
Surprisingly, that was just what I needed to hear, and his words changed my perspective completely. If this man who knew me and my driving abilities (or lack thereof) thought the situation was within my capabilities, then clearly it was. When another frequent shopper stopped me in passing to feed my fear and warn me with his own story I cut him off short, saying, “My husband says I can do this. I’ll be fine.” and marched quickly away from his tale of woe.
It’s not just winter that makes travel difficult; life sometimes does the same. So many of us find ourselves at the base of hills we can’t seem to climb. Unable to catch a grip on the slippery slopes before us, we often find ourselves sliding backwards despite our best efforts to get ahead. Many are in danger of giving up and turning around. Yet God tells us in His Word that what is impossible in our own strength is possible in His; His power inside of us is what propels us over the mountains that stand in our way.
The trouble is that we sometimes forget the extent of His power and authority that are available to us to deal with any situations we face. We listen to voices of doubt and disbelief from fellow travelers, and when in our fear we call Home and ask to be rescued, the One who created us and thus knows us better than anyone else answers us with the gentle reminder that we can do all things through Christ Who gives us strength. We know that of course; sometimes we just need the reassurance and the comfort in the sound of His voice. Then we can respond to any naysayer attempting to discourage us by voicing with confidence, “My Bridegroom says I can do this. I’ll be fine.”
I did get home safely that night. I found as I set out that the salt trucks had indeed prepared the way before me, as God promises He will do for us in all our earthly travels. There was one strip of clearing pavement down the middle of the road, and as long as I kept a wheel in that and didn’t venture too far to the left or to the right, I was fine. Yet as I pulled into the driveway it was such a relief and delight to see the lights of home before me. The tension finally lifted off my shoulders as I pulled into the garage and then entered that place of safety, warmth, and joy to find the one who loves me waiting there to welcome me home.
Rest in the knowledge that one day soon you will simply do the same.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also I me. In my Father’s house are many rooms…I am going there to prepare a place for you…that you also may be where I am.”
(John 14: 1-3 NIV)
(John 14: 1-3 NIV)