Having moved to the U.P. from Florida seven years ago, I have now officially been initiated into Yooperhood by driving my Kia SOUL straight into a bona fide blizzard. That. Was. Not. Fun.
I only went out in the horrendous weather because of an emergency at the hospital. I don’t think I would have voluntarily gone out for any other reason. That said, I learned a lot on the drive to and from the hospital that day.
The first thing I learned was that even in emergency situations, we should all reconsider the decision to drive in a blizzard. The next thing I saw was that more than a few people were out driving in these horrible conditions. I wondered if everyone had an emergency. And the most perplexing thing to me was that many people didn’t have their headlights on.
In Florida, there is a law that if your windshield wipers are on (because of rain), then your headlights need to be on too. Let me just say, that if having your headlights on in a blizzard ISN’T a law, it should be along with removing the snow from your tail lights so other drivers could at least see when you brake.
As is the case in any snowstorm, visibility was very low, but it was never worse than when a pickup truck (with no lights on and his tail lights covered in snow) passed me on the highway. There was so much snow blowing in his wake that I almost had to come to a complete stop as I couldn’t see a foot in front of me. Rude and dangerous are a couple of the words that came to my mind as he sped past me, followed by a desperate prayer to God for no one to hit me from behind.
By the time I pulled into the hospital parking lot, the sun had come out. Imagine that, right in the middle of this blizzard, the sun shining in its strength. It didn’t last long, but while it was visible, it brought hope.
As I drove home in conditions that were no better than my trip to the hospital, I came across an accident that had happened about 30 minutes before. It was a tragic accident where a snowmobiler was hit by a vehicle as he tried to cross the highway. I didn’t know it at the time, but this man died at the hospital from where I had just come. As I sat in a short line of stopped cars on the highway looking at the emergency vehicles, some spiritual parallels started to take shape in my mind.
For some, this past year has been one constant blizzard. Every time you get a ray of sunshine, you’re hit with someone’s passing spray that causes complete blindness for the road ahead. You’ve had to stop at times just because it’s not safe to continue. Stopping for any reason makes you feel bad though like it’s your fault that someone else’s choices have made your life harder.
For others, you are the one in the vehicle that totally by accident has (seemingly) ruined someone’s life.
I don’t know if headlights could have averted that accident, but I do know that light of any kind in low visibility (figuratively or literally) can give a sense of context to the chaos.
Jesus tells us, as Christians that we are lights in this world. So how do we turn our lights on? I believe Philippians 2:14-16 is one way:
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life….”
Let’s purpose in our hearts and minds this year not to complain, to trust in God, to pray for those around us, and to try to help others through the blizzards of life. And my fellow Christians, for the love of God, please turn your lights on.
God’s shalom to you in abundance this coming New Year.
Thanks so much for reading,
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