My wipers could not keep up with the fierce force of the blowing snow surrounding me.
Twenty plus years ago, I traveled to my hometown in Michigan from Chicago, where I was living. The familiar path involved driving mostly expressway straight from point A to point B. Not too complicated, right?
Unless, it’s winter. Anyone familiar with the 80/94 stretch that leads to southwestern Michigan can attest to the paradox of it’s dangerous beauty.
Though the snow often lays a beautiful blanket upon the ground and draping the tree branches, it can become a dangerous force when combined with a harsh lake-effect wind. One could argue that avoiding the danger would be the best course of action. However, when you live in this region, it becomes a familiar presence. One that is best confronted by learning to navigate through it carefully rather than letting fear keep you stuck. Life always involves risks.
So on this particular evening, I focused on trying to stay on the road. That would eventually lead to refuge. But the whiteout conditions and the increasing darkness caused by the lack of cars on the road caused my heart to race.
How will I make it home?
And then it happened. Without warning, my car veered off the expressway and into the ditch. The absence of road markings had made it impossible to see where the side of the road ended. Suddenly, my small red CRX was tilted downward; pressed into the snow. And for a moment, fear began to take root in my head and my heart.
I had no cell phone. Truthfully, no one did then. So I prayed. And I waited. Wondering how long I would stay stuck. Would I be rescued?
And then it happened. Two young men appeared out of nowhere.
“Can we help get you back on the road?,” they asked. Without hesitation, I let them in to my car.
Life always involves risks. For all of us.
Instantly, they initiated some “magical” force on the pedal and propelled my car onto the mostly abandoned road. And disappeared.
Would I have done the same?
Fear has a way of keeping us stuck.
But the good Samaritan refused to let it’s force paralyze. He recognized that abundant life leads to risks. Life giving risks; sometimes taking physical life in the process. But letting fear dictate our steps will always lead to “death.”
I don’t want to remain stuck. So I will grab onto every thread of God’s mercies to propel me forward on the road. And pray that my eyes and heart remain open to propel others as well.
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Every January, my husband and I ask each other the same question: “Why do we live here?”
The air stings. Grey skies hover without a slight peek at the sun. The trees bare their nakedness. Sometimes snow; despite it’s nuisance as it mounts, adds a texture of beauty to this somewhat drab palette. This is Winter in the midwest; Chicago to be specific.
Several years ago, my husband worked temporarily in San Diego. On a weekend whim, I flew out to visit. You can eat outside in January? Who Knew? And the scenery…..hello ocean and hills!
Though we considered the prospect of God perhaps moving us out there (ok wishing), it was apparent that Chicago is our home.
Scraping the ice off the windshield after the night temperatures have plunged below zero is not my favorite activity. It requires early preparation in the midst of a hectic school morning routine. Even with the defroster at work, the ice hardens and resists the effort of my chilled to the bone fingers.
In my rush and frustration, the temptation to simply scrape off enough ice to provide a small “window” of visibility seduces me. Yet despite the increasing windchill whipping my face, I know that taking the shortcut increases my chances of an accident. If the back window is not clear, I cannot see what’s approaching behind me. Despite my kids thinking that I do indeed possess eyes in the back of my head, it’s simply not true. If my rear vision is incomplete, my abilities to prevent certain collisions is impaired. If the side windows are still frosty, I may not see the car next to me as I attempt to change lanes. And even a small circle of transparency in the front windshield does not allow me to gauge the elements of all that lie in front of me.
How similar I find the act of scraping a windshield to approaching sinful areas of my life.
What is blocking your view?
Fear? At times, it floods the senses; resulting in anxiety as we take in the implications of the journey ahead. The heartbeat escalates, eyes grow big, and hands quiver. Is God really big enough to keep us on track despite detours, pot holes?
Pride? The ever seducing voice in our head lulls us into a false reality. Our wisdom, though faulty and biased to self, rules the world. We know better. Especially when time constraints beckon. But as the sun bears it’s light onto the foggy windshield, we are blinded. As navigation continues, we find ourselves suddenly braking to prevent colliding with a car which was hidden by the glare. Why am I afraid to “trust in the Lord with all my heart? (prov. 3:5)”
Discouragement? Perhaps staggering to the car, while feeling the sting of the air seems like the best you can do. Scraping off the windshield? The task seems too daunting. Confronting the dawn of a new day while deceitful voices whisper words devoid of hope keep us from preparing early. The defroster’s warmth cannot melt the iciness of the morning’s frost quickly. What thoughts can I surrender to God so that the warmth of His light thaws the frost surrounding it?
How are you enlarging your “window” of visibility? Little chisels at a time or engaging in the more arduous process of scraping the covering all at once?
Sin, when not scraped off immediately, becomes a hardened base upon which more layers mount. The longer it sits, the more overwhelming the task becomes. The temptation, then, becomes avoiding the removal. Little chisels may provide brief glimpses of the road in front but we find ourselves impaired by the lack of visibility.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”
Or, In this case, “scrape off” everything that hinders.
Fear, pride, discouragement……….Satan wants nothing more than to block our view of the light going before us as we travel. With nothing impeding the view, we can aim clearly toward the destination.
What is hindering yours?