I don’t like not being able to see clearly where I am going. I panic when the boundaries are obscured and I cannot ascertain if it is a 60 foot drop to my right, or a wide shoulder where I can pull over. I freak out at the thought that I cannot see the car just a few feet in front of me, and wonder how long it will be until I am hit from behind.
There is no stopping in a blizzard. To stop in my tracks would make me an object to be smashed by the traffic behind me that is in the same situation I am in. Somehow I have to continue on.
This happened to me a few years ago, as I recall in early spring. I was driving a van full of students from the local Bible school from Homer to Anchorage. Jamin was also driving a van of students and was leading the way in front of me. We were in the mountain pass, making our descent back to sea level and the snow was flying. It was so thick, falling so fast, and swirling in the wind. It didn’t take long for the tail lights on Jamin’s van to disappear and the road begin to look like one never-ending piece of whiteness. The lighting was diffused by the amount of snow flakes in the sky and I could no longer differentiate between the edges of the road or the lanes they represented.
I called Jamin on his cell phone to see if he really was ahead of me. He assured me he was and encouraged me to keep going forward. I couldn’t find his tail lights. I couldn’t even see his tracks in the snow. I was scared.
Then I remembered something…..a conversation from years ago when I asked Jamin about his snowboarding goggles. Why were they tinted yellow? His response to me was that the yellow tint helps to clarify the light and shadows in a low-light situation. With them on, Jamin would be able to see more clearly, the path to travel in the snow on his board.
Immediately I began to ask the people in my van if any of them had a pair of sunglasses with them with a yellow tint. And amazingly enough, Sarah, sitting beside me said that she did and pulled a pair of glasses out of her bag for me to wear.
I can’t explain what happened next in words, but something settled over me as I placed those glasses on my face. It was like snow melting to spring, or like my cold hands warmed by a fire. My eyes were suddenly able to see what they couldn’t discern moments earlier. I could see shadow and light. I could discern tracks in the snow ahead of me. I could find my way.
Sometimes life isn’t any different from the blinded frenzy of a blizzard. The way is obscure, the things I thought I knew become clouded, and the One I trusted to lead me is hidden from view. So what do I do then?
I don’t know all the answers. I’m still asking several myself, so I’ll just tell you a few that I have learned.
Pray. The Holy Spirit has a way of settling over a frenzied heart in a way that removes the haze and distinguishes light from shadow. His peace becomes a guard for my mind as well as my emotions.
New International Version (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The second and third lessons are these:
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Italics mine)
I must allow the peace of Christ to rule my heart. I have to dethrone worry and fear and give the throne back to Christ. This is an act of my will that God meets with His promise.
Thankfulness, gratitude, appreciation, awe and wonder of God’s goodness, all become lenses, and if I put them on, they will remind me that my Shepherd is leading me, and creating my path through the storm. I must remember what He has done in my past to trust Him with my future.
“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson –
So, this past weekend as I wound my way through blurred and hazy roads, it was with a pair of sunglasses on my face. I try to never leave home without them. And as I travel this crazy road of life full of storms and fog, I endeavor to navigate my way through prayer and thankfulness, trusting that He will make my path straight.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
If you have lost your yellow lenses, I will loan you some of mine.