It was four years ago today. God had been speaking to me about trusting Him in all things. I was about to be tested.
My daughter and I had just spent the day with her fourth grade class tubing at a ski hill about an hour from our house. Instead of riding home with the group, we had planned to drive fifteen minutes in the other direction and spend the weekend with some friends.
Snow had been falling all day, and as we were piling into the van, the temperature dropped even lower and the snow began to turn to ice pellets. Knowing we didn’t have far to drive, we kept on our wet snow gear, looking forward to warming up with hot cocoa and visiting with our friends.
About five minutes into our trip, traffic stopped. Dead stop. Not even a crawl. Cars were backed for as far as we could see.
Forty-five minutes later, I posted this on Facebook. “Sitting in the van at a deadlock on highway 94 just outside the Dells for over 45 mns. Two ambulances and cops ahead must be bad accident. Pray for those people.”
What I didn’t post was that our van had no heat. We had been having problems with the heater before this, but as soon I started driving it would heat up a little. Problem was, we weren’t driving, only idling.
At first, we tried to make the best of it. We talked, joked. I had a blanket, so my daughter and I cuddled. But as that 45 minutes turned into an hour, the cold permeated all our layers, down to our core. Our bodies moved beyond shivering to shaking.
I looked around to see if we could get out and jump in a car with someone nearby (since we weren’t going anywhere anyways). Behind us a big Mac truck with two male drivers. Next to us a car full of college-aged boys. In front of us a utility van, etc. There were no options.
My daughter, so brave up to this point, started crying as she started experiencing pain in her toes (frost bite). I too had never felt soo cold in my life. (FYI, you’re teeth really do chatter uncontrollably as you begin to freeze.) I took my gloves off just long enough to call make a call.
“Mom, we’re in trouble.”
I explained the situation. She responded, “I’m calling everyone. We’ll pray.”
I started getting encouraging texts from my Bible study group, from my mom’s friends, my church friends. Everyone was praying.
I remember thinking, “God, I know you are in control. I know you work all things to our good. But, you have to help us here. I’m really scared.”
Fifteen minutes after that phone call, we saw another big trailer going in the opposite direction hauling another three smashed cars. Five minutes later, we started a slow, slow crawl. As we moved slowly, slowly we got a trickle of heat. Another ten minutes we were moving a little faster. A little more heat.
Two hours after we left the ski hill, we finally arrived at our destination.
I’ve never prayed so hard, and then been so thankful for God’s deliverance. I can only imagine that’s how Abraham felt seconds before he offered up his son Isaac. I am not a doctor, nor a weatherman, but I believe that had we stayed out there much longer we would have been in danger of hypothermia.
I wish I could say that I had been strong and positive the whole time, but I did have my doubts. What if? What if God doesn’t come through?
But God did. And, after taking a warm shower and swaddling in several layers of blankets, my friend’s husband offered to look at our van. He was able to fix the broken heater in a short time with no cost to us. What a huge blessing to us!
God doesn’t promise that the sun will always shine and our road will always be clear. There are many blizzards and icy patches in our lives. But He does promise to always be walking with us through those times. Romans 13:5, and then in Deuteronomy 31:6, the Bible says, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Copyright (c) 2016 Ronnell Kay Gibson