The two-lane northern Michigan highway was frosted like a cake. There was nothing for me to follow but thin, black car tracks and the occasional fellow driver, whom I tried to stay away from. No street lights. Just darkness flooded with swirling flurries. I flipped on the fog lights. Sleek, dark pavement peeked through the snow. The sides of the road spilled off into powdery ditches leading to a thick wall of evergreens.
I was driving Up North, as we Michiganders call it, to my family’s cottage for our annual New Year’s ski trip. My parents, younger brother and his girlfriend were already there. And my older brother and his girlfriend weren’t planning on leaving until after work, around 10 p.m. So I began the four hour drive alone around 3:30 p.m., hoping to avoid rush hour, late-night driving and this potential snow storm.
But with about an hour and a half left to go, I found myself clutching the steering wheel going 30 mph on a white highway. Ever been there? Like Hm. This isn’t good. What now? I’d gone too far to turn around, but wasn’t there yet either. Pulling off in the middle of nowhere and collecting snow didn’t seem effective. So I kept plugging along.
I’d been listening to Christian music the whole way, but when the roads got bad, I turned it up and started to pray. I needed Jesus to keep me safe, and for Him to know that, whatever happened, I seriously trust Him. I wasn’t as scared as I could have been because He was with me, but I wasn’t comfortable either. I started laughing at one point, as I was following yellow arrow signs and rumble strips to tell me where the road was, because although this was risky, it felt a lot like faith.
Both in driving through a white out and following God, we have an ultimate destination–Heaven or Up North–and something to guide us: the Bible or Google Maps. We prepare ourselves by getting gas, packing mittens and picking the car with four-wheel drive. And in the faith sense, we go to church and bible study and pray.
But when we find ourselves in the middle of the storm that we tried hard to prepare ourselves for or avoid altogether, we must walk through the darkness in faith. Sometimes trusting the glistening road signs and car tracks immediately in front of us is all we can do. We must lean on God’s promise that He is light in the darkness. That He’s good and on our side. Standing on these promises, relying on the nudges deep in our spirit, we can make it through any day, one moment at a time. For “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV).
Thank God, I arrived safely at the cottage. So did my brother and his girlfriend. Now I’m cozy by the fire sipping a glass of Merlot and writing to you. It’s lovely. But I don’t forget that, just a bit ago, I was navigating a treacherous path, desperate for God’s protection and companionship. I always need Him, but sometimes it’s more obvious than others. In life, and in faith, there are times you must move forward turn by turn, bit by bit, in trust. Because God is faithful to us.
Though I didn’t care for driving through that snow, I’ve loved skiing with my family and looking out at it as I read by the ever-cracking fire. Whatever your New Year’s plans look like, let’s both take a minute to thank God for all He’s done for us in 2016. May God continues to bless you in the coming year as you trust Him and walk obediently in His guidance.
Happy New Year, friend!