Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Ice Walker

This post is from the trail out west. We are in the process of relocating during this time that seems to have become my sabbatical. And it has been an adventure to say the least. We intended to leave a day in front of the winter storm that hit the Midwest. Instead, we ended up driving in the middle of it. We made it only do Dallas by the middle of the night the first night. (Because it was officially Friday, 12.15 am, when we checked in, I could not get the weekday rate.) Then the next morning, Friday still, we head off to Abilene, and even perhaps Las Cruces. It's only an 10 hour drive. We made it to Weatherford. It took us all day. Weatherford LaQuinta is 100 miles from the Dallas LaQuinta from where we started.

God is good. He protected us during our journey. He also gave me a wife who looked out for my needs on the road. She was driving our suburban behind. When I needed to make a change, she created the buffer space I needed in my rig. 

I also learned to appreciate what I've read in those westerns I like so much. When the story tells how taxing a buckboard is to the body, I can fully appreciate it, now. I tried as much as I could, but it was a continual shake on the rig. At the end of the day, my knees were screaming, my wrists and ankles were all swollen to twice their size. It was a good 2 day layover for recovery.

Another appreciation that I developed was during the ice. We were in the hotel and I couldn't get the vehicle open. We couldn't afford to eat out given that our budget is limited. The suburban was iced into the parking spot, but thankfully Walmart was across the street as I recalled from when I slid the moving van into its spot below the hotel. 

I would take this trek to Walmart. I had my hiking/snow boots that were already padding my feet as I drove. Everyone else was wearing lite treads. The ice was 4+ inches thick. The family couldn't help. So off I went. And what I thought was just across the street was more like a half mile away from the hotel. The hotel was at the top of a hill on a side road that was off the side road that was off the main road where Walmart was located, which was at the bottom of the hill.

This was tricky. I remember from my college days at Ozark, that walking downhill on ice is dangerous. Walking uphill isn't much easier. As I looked for the best, most gentle incline that I could take, I saw them. Steps of another traveler whose tracks were laid in the snow before they iced over. Now this is a testimony of grace. The steps were at the same stride that I would walk while walking on ice. Not only were they the same stride, the prints were nearly the same tread pattern that I wear, and they were size 13, a perfect fit. I was able to walk to Walmart, safely. (Unfortunately the tracks disappeared in the parking lot.)

But here is what struck me as I discovered these wondrous tracks. At that moment, Hebrews 11 and 12.1 came to mind. This is the passage that is called the Hall of Faith, those who lived before us and what marked their faith in the Lord. Now in this passage, we see people who seem to have their lives together. And yet, were they?

Not in the least! These people are normal people, like you and I, sinful, broken. One man had the habit of sending his children away to protect a favored child, something that would become a family trait. Another saw a storm that wiped out all he knew that he turned to the bottle to cope. One betrayed his best friend, and cheated on his wife. One lost his wealth, another his life. Of course, you need to look back into the first half of the Bible to read their stories, which include others who suffered mental health, manic depression, prostitution, cheats and thieves. 

People whose secrets aren't too different from our own. These are those who God used. People who've walked ahead of us, leaving us a trail to follow.  Praise God that just as I had a person to follow to and from Walmart, I have the Scripture that shows me that no matter how bad my life may look, what mistakes I've made and will make, God still loves and has use for me. I still have worth.

You know what? This same God, our Heavenly Father, loves you, too. Why? Because in Christ, you are declared righteous. (Romans 5.19) It means that not only are your sins forgiven, but that because God sees you through His Son, Jesus, it's as if you've never sinned. Isn't that great news? So next time you are in a storm, or just seem lost in life, look for the ice walker.

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