As one does, this past Christmas, we took a trip to visit family. I expected the time to be filled with family game nights, lots of outdoor winter activities, and dinners filled with laughter while retelling childhood hi-jinx. I did not expect to spend nearly two hours of our trip white-knuckling it through a blizzard, praying that we wouldn’t end up frozen to death in a ditch. Maybe dead in the ditch is a bit overly dramatic…you be the judge.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of an up-north winter experience, this may be a bit confusing. Why drive for two hours in a blizzard if you don’t have to? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First, the weather service had originally predicted the storm would stay further south of us. On top of that, we had timed our departure for our trip so we would stay about an hour ahead of the worst of the storm. But as the windshield wipers failed and the slush formed an ice blanket on our car, it was obvious the storm had shifted further north. We now found ourselves in the middle of one of the worst blizzards we had experienced in years. And the snow kept falling. It was a complete whiteout. The snow was blowing sideways as the wind whipped so that even if the windshield wipers were working properly, it would have been nearly impossible to see. The defroster was incapable of keeping the snow from building up on the windshield and smearing across it, creating nearly zero visibility. Even with perfectly working defrosters, so much snow had fallen that I couldn’t see the pavement in front of me. I had no idea if the road curved left or right or continued straight ahead. Being unable to see anything in front of me, I reduced my speed from the posted 55MPH limit to 30MPH or even slower. And the snow kept falling.
Why not pull over and wait for it to pass? Good question.
We were driving north, almost to Canada north, and when the storm started, we were in the middle of nowhere. No street lights, no rest stops, no gas stations, nothing. Well, there were deer. But even the deer had the good sense to not be out in this weather…which was a relief. Had we stopped, we would have found ourselves further trapped, in the dark, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a blizzard. Stopping would have only made things worse. This wasn’t my first blizzard nor my first time driving in this intense of one. I hadn’t been able to see the road ahead before, but this time it was different. In storms before, I had been by myself or with my brother. This was my first time driving in this size of a blizzard with my wife and kids in the van. When driving by myself, if I ended up in the ditch stuck for a few hours or into the next day, I’d be alright. Now I have a van full of the most important people in the world to me. I couldn’t let anything happen to them. I also didn’t want them to feel the panic I was feeling. The fear that was creeping over me second by second as I couldn’t see anything in front of me. The fear that I would crash or drive off a bridge killing us all. All of this ran through my mind as I kept driving, and the snow kept falling.
There were a lot of difficulties driving in the storm, but the one that was causing the biggest issue was that I couldn’t see which direction the road was going. I asked my wife how far away we were from our destination, and she put her phone in the holder next to the steering wheel. She had pulled up the map on her phone so that I could see the distance, but seeing the blue line on the map calmed my nerves. I didn’t need to see which way the road turned ahead; I just needed to be able to see the blue line on the map. For the next 90 minutes, I relied heavily on that blue line and the triangle that told me where I was on the road and what to expect up ahead. As I saw that line curve to the left, I knew I needed to turn my steering wheel left. When it sharply turned right, I knew to slow down and guide my van to the right. It wasn’t my sight that gave me the direction; it was just that little blue line I relied on. And no, I do not recommend this sort of driving…
Life can feel a lot like a snowstorm. You lose all ability to see and feel the stress of life bear down on you. The twists and turns become impossible to predict, and you feel like you could lose control at any moment and end up in a ditch. The good news is that we have a map, actually something so much better than a map. We have a little blue line which is the perfect guide and light to our path (Psalm 119).
The Word of God guides and directs us better than any map ever could. It gives us hope during inevitable storms, it provides us insight when our sight is blurry, it gives us peace during scary moments, and it gives us strength when our way is full of heavy barricades. And not only is it reliable, but it’s also the only map that gets us where we want to go. Any other map you follow might lead you to smooth highways or beautiful views, but ultimately it ends in a random parking lot miles away from where you wanted to go – not your desired destination. As we spend time reading and absorbing His Word, God promises to guide us and lead us through those storms.
Are you driving through a storm right now? Maybe you’ve pulled off the side of the road and are unsure how to continue. Grab that map. Get some time alone and ask God to open your eyes to what He has laid before you. If it feels scary and like you don’t even know which way the road is turning, just keep your eye on that blue line. Maybe it’s one verse that keeps you going, or maybe a word a friend gave you to encourage you. Don’t worry if you can’t navigate it on your own right now; you weren’t meant to.
Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:
- Is there a particular verse or passage that has provided you with strength and hope during hard times?
- When you’re going through a storm, what’s the first thing you typically turn to? If it’s not the Word, what is it? Why do you think you turn to that?