The closing days of January in 2019 found the nation being gripped in the icy hands of an arctic blast. This winter vortex that was taking place was going to consume the nation with cold, and sure enough, there were new, all-time record colds across much of our country. Here in Mississippi, we would not be excluded from the winter blast. For over a week, the weather folks had been telling us that Tuesday, January 29, was an alert day. They wanted all of us to be alert to the fact that this was going to be some kind of a cold and snowy event. They were right. On the day before, we were hit with the winter storm. Schools announced that they would be closed. Businesses would either open late or not at all, and everyone was in a frenzy wondering if there would be anything left after this winter storm was finished with us.
On the night of the 28th, I was driving home and my wife told me I needed to go to the store and pick up some milk, bread, sliced turkey for sandwiches, and a couple of other things. After she gave me a pretty good list, I said, “Why do we need all of this?” She said, “Well, from what they’re saying, we don’t know if we’ll be snowed in for several days or not.” “Okay,” I said and headed off to the store. I got there to find out that everybody in creation had already been through the store and there was no sliced turkey left. There was no bread of certain types. Everything had been swooped up and taken off by other people who had beaten me to the store because of the great blizzard that we were about to have.
When I finished at the store, it was slightly raining with a few flakes that were coming down in the midst of it. I thought – boy, this is going to be something. I got home just in time to escape all the horrors of what was about to take place. I went on to bed and woke the next morning to find out that sure enough the storm had passed through. The largest snowfall in the history of record keeping in Mississippi had taken place during the night. How deep was it? Three tenths of an inch deep snowfall. Not three inches, three tenths of one inch. That’s what was measured overnight. I survived that frightening, incredible, fierce storm.
By the time the sun actually came up, it was hard to find a flake anywhere. The roads were clear. Everything was fine, and I headed off for work grateful to be a survivor of the blizzard. Now I relate all to you to just point out a few important things as life and all of its dilemmas and tragedies come your way.
The first I would mention is that our problems are relative. They’re relative to what may bother us is of little concern or consequence to others. All of life’s problems are that way. You may have a flat tire, and as inconvenient and terrible as that may be, it may be just a stop in the road compared to what other people are facing in life and their significant difficulties. You may have a headache or some other minor ailment, but when you do, just think about a friend of yours who may have cancer or a couple who are facing life without their son who was shipped off to a warzone on the other side of the world.
While up North they were recording huge snows and temperatures that literally reached fifty below zero, I was struggling with the blizzard of three tenths of an inch deep snow. The old saying comes to mind that a man said he complained about not having shoes until he saw a man who had no feet. Life’s problems need to be looked at in relative terms to what might have been and how much worse it could have been.
A second thought I had after that blizzard was that often our difficulties can be dealt with with just a little effort and some alertness and some preparation. My trip to the store at 10 p.m. was not too disruptive, and though I didn’t find everything I was looking for because other folks had already snatched it up, I did get some stuff to eat, some drinks to help wash down the food, and some goodies that would keep us if we were stranded for days on end. Jesus warned us that we didn’t need to borrow tomorrow’s troubles and tomorrow’s worries for they would be sufficient for tomorrow. Deal with what you’re facing today and as you do, you may find that today is not as bad as you thought it would be and tomorrow may not be either.
A final thought is beyond any or all of these things is the reality that we can trust God. Peter writes and says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Trust God. While the weather did change and there were some flakes of snow and a little bit of rain, most all of it was gone and life was back to calm and normality by noon. Trust God as you face life. You may hear news reports and weather predictions and even hear the latest scoop on what’s going on in the community that looks weird and maybe unusual, but don’t trust all of those things and all that information, but do trust God to guide you through whatever you’re facing.
After the New Orleans Saints got robbed from going to the Super Bowl, I saw a little tidbit that said there are only two professions that you can lie all the time and still have a job – 1. Weather Forecasters 2. NFL Referees. That’s just a little Saints humor, but the truth is that we let so many things bother us, burden us, wear us down, wear us out, and even scare us out of our wits because a storm may be coming. Well, my brothers and sisters, I stand in thankful testimony to share with you that the greatest snowfall that ever hit Mississippi on January 29, 2019, that I am a thankful survivor and am looking forward to spring.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.