This past Thursday into Friday morning, a bit of a snowstorm rolled through the North East. It hit my area at its worst right around the time most people were making their commute home. I took the longer route home from work, which makes my commute 40-45 minutes under typical conditions. My drive home on Thursday took nearly 2 hours, and I know there are a number of people whose drives were far longer. I’ve heard of some people whose commutes ended up being between 7 and 9 hours. Needless to say, the snow slowed things down a little. On my drive home, I drove past four accidents, two of which involved three cars or more. Fortunately, everyone seemed to be okay in all of them.
All of it got me thinking about what God might be trying to show me in that storm. Something I like to do is to be able to find a way to look at something ordinary in an extraordinary way; I think sometimes we have a tendency to just see the world as it is, and we don’t look deeper.
I’ve always thought of how much of a game of trust driving seems to be. Every time you get in a vehicle, you need to have some element of trust that the drivers around you are going to have the ability to appropriately handle their vehicle. My biggest quirk when it comes to driving is that I hate passing somebody when I’m on the outside of a curve. I’ve seen all sorts of vehicles drift to the outside of their lane around curves and gradually into mine. That’s the time I get most anxious when driving.
Well, the whole two-hour drive home on Thursday, I felt that level of anxiety – whether there were other vehicles around me or not. The roads I have to drive on to get home from work are not particularly the friendliest in winter weather (see below). It was also my first time handling winter weather in my current vehicle, so I was trying to learn as I went.
I think the main thing I was hearing from God on that drive home was patience. Realistically, with the capabilities of my truck, I’m sure I could have taken some time off of that trip. But I knew any time I was near other vehicles, I wanted to be patient and safe. I feel I had a responsibility to make sure I didn’t sacrifice my or their safety just to get home quicker. Sometimes, God tells us to just slow it down. I could have gotten home faster, but I also would have been driving much riskier, and putting others in danger. Who knows what could have happened then?
I honestly feel like I got to see a little glimpse of what God had planned a few months ago when I was in my car accident, too. It’s easy to play the blame game after a car accident. Especially with yourself. You tell yourself to no end every little thing you could have done differently. I feel like I honestly had a pretty “Old Testament” mindset about it. I almost thought that I must have done something wrong and that accident was my punishment. I had a lot of questions stuck in my own head about it.
But, one way or another, it happened. Once it happens, you can’t change what’s behind you, only what’s ahead. Honestly, I was really sad that my car was totaled. I was mixed with sadness and excitement when I was getting my truck. But if I had my car instead of my truck in that snowstorm, it would have taken far, far longer to get home, and I wouldn’t have felt near as safe.
Really, I feel like God let that car accident happen then so He could watch out for me on Thursday. You can say I’m reaching at straws, or trying to create a meaning to it, but that’s how I’m choosing to look at it. Besides, we’re all looking after some meaning for why certain things happen – I feel that’s mine for this.
The last thing I felt I learned is this: break it up into small pieces. See, that same accident from several months ago caused some complications to my lower back that have gradually been getting better. So what exactly am I breaking into small pieces?
Well, when I was a boy, I often enjoyed helping shovel snow off of the driveway and sidewalk. I also loved biting off more than I could chew. I’d plow into the snow with a shovel only to get stuck halfway across the driveway because I was trying to move it all in one go. I think old habits die hard, because that’s what my instinct was to do Thursday night when I was shoveling the driveway with my dad. Except this time it hurt more than it ever did when I was a kid. I ended up doing about two hours of shoveling that night and another two the next morning, when I was trying to help clear out the site for work.
The only reason I was able to manage is because I forced myself to be patient and to take it small. I often get overwhelmed by the tasks in front of me, and I convince myself that I need to get it all done. I get so overwhelmed that I don’t know where to start.. and then I never do.
But if you break it up, and just focus on one piece at a time, it gets much easier to manage. Also, we don’t have to do all of it ourselves. Sometimes, we try to do everything in our lives by ourselves. I try, so often, to make my own decisions and be independent. But we are dependent beings who often choose the wrong things to depend on. We try to tackle every item at once rather than trusting to God what is His.
I truly believe that God sometimes leaves us with options where He truly wants us to make the call. We agonize over the right path, when maybe He’s blessed both. I also believe there are times where the path He would choose is clear as day. I also know I have not always chosen that path. I still struggle. My point is that we don’t have to get it all done on our own at any one time. The saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
So be patient. Break it up. Give it to God. Trust in Him and His authority.
In all things,
To God be the Glory.