There’s a saying that if you don’t like the weather in St. Louis, just wait. It will change in 10 minutes. Never has this been more true than this past week. One week ago, I was setting out an extra layer of clothing for G & L (my daughters) because the temps were below 15 and the windchills were made it feel like zero. Then on Thursday afternoon, we were blanketed in about 7 inches of snow. I know this is nothing compared to some regions’ average snowfalls, but for good ‘ol St. Louis, it was enough to grant a snow day to every student in the metropolitan area… including the local state university. Four days later and the temp topped out at 70 degrees. It was 50 when I left for work this morning and everything was layered in thick fog.
Now, I’m a fairly confident driver. I will drive at night. In the rain. In the snow. It takes a lot of weather to really unnerve me behind the wheel. My younger daughter, whose name is L in this blog, and I commute 1.5 hours a day round trip. It’s mostly open road, interstate driving. Piece of cake. I don’t like having her in the car with me when the weather is not good, but alas, my work and our babysitter are in the same town — 45 minutes from our home.
Today was different. The fog was by far the most dense I’ve ever had to drive in, and I was tense. Headlights, taillights, stop lights and exit ramps only became visible within 25 feet of approaching them. Slow and steady was the gameplan and we made it safe and sound, thank goodness. But L and I were both struck by the eerie way the fog had changed our familiar landscape. Easy bends in the road became adventures. L, who will be 2 years old in a few weeks, was quite impressed. Occasionally tried to ask what something was, but it disappeared into the clouds before she could form the words. As I drove carefully, focusing on the 10 feet I could see in front of my car, I was reminded of a conversation I recently had with a student. This remarkable young man took a big step of faith and showed his heart to the entire student body during an assembly by asking them to donate money toward a relief effort for Ugandan children. He spoke with such genuine sincerity that our small school has donated over $5,000 in the past three weeks. There is no way this young man could have known that he would have this effect on his community. After the assembly I took the young man aside and told him how proud I was of him. He said he felt called to do this as a ministry. We talked about how God rarely reveals his long range plans. He gives us one step, and wait until we take it in faith. Then He guides the next step. Usually we can only see far enough ahead to see one, maybe two, steps ahead.
As I drove in the fog today I was reminded that it’s not just my students who are living their lives one step at a time. I think as we get older, we start to look further down the road and think we can anticipate what is coming next. We start to make plans. I know I tend to plan my course and forget to stop to look around to see if God has guided my next step. Sometimes, I’m just wandering around in the fog with a general idea of where I should be and where I am going. I strive to see clearly, to know, to understand, to plan wisely, but when I can’t see I worry, fret, and stress like I did in the car today… On the other hand, L had a wonderful time. The ride that usually puts her to sleep suddenly became an adventure. She didn’t worry because she didn’t need to. And that’s all that God wants. He wants us to cling to His guiding hand in faith and obedience. Then I wouldn’t need to see even one step ahead; I’d just hold on to my Father’s hand.