“Let’s pray, guys.”
We were leaving in a couple of days for a nine-day Thanksgiving trip to Ohio, and I wanted to cover our trip with prayer. I’ve learned that God’s peace can and will permeate every situation, calm my worries and fears and concerns, and run a thick thread of grace through each moment.
We thanked God for His blessings and goodness and for Jesus, and I prayed for travel safety; for William and Timothy, two sweet orphans in Kenya; for Chase to feel better and for other kids in their classes who were sick; and finally, for snow.
I prayed for snow.
Oh yes, it was partly a selfish prayer, one born from long-ago childhood memories in snow-drenched Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Florida certainly has its positive points – you can’t beat 70 and sunny in December, and the magnificent summer thunderstorms are part of me now, after a quarter century living here – but my hubby and I miss the fall and yes, the snow.
So I prayed for snow.
Four days later, we arrived safely to warmer than usual weather for Ohio. It was in the 50s during the day and upper 30s at night, and I resigned myself to the idea that snow wasn’t in the realm of possibility. After a full and blessed week visiting family and friends, we were spending our last day visiting Trev’s grandparents in northwestern Pennsylvania. It would be a four-and-a-half hour trek east and north.
That morning as we headed out, the boys were giddy about the fine dusting of snow dotting my aunt and uncle’s yard. The temperatures had dropped dramatically the day before, and there was just enough snow on our truck that the boys could construct a haphazard snowball.
Our drive to Trev’s grandparents’ started out smoothly, and I watched with awe and gratitude as gentle snow flurries fell around our truck on the highway. But about two hours-and-a-half hours into the trip, we were stopped in traffic on I-80 in western Pennsylvania.
Beautiful snowflakes floated all around us, but I glanced at the empty water bottle crinkling in my hand. Uh oh.
“Uh, honey, I really have to go.”
As we sat in completely stopped traffic – just under three miles from the nearest exit – my hubby helplessly checked traffic on his phone and I wiggled uncomfortably in my seat. The snow came faster, dropping like soft, sparkly cotton balls that landed and accumulated into a couple-inch thick carpet on the earth.
There was a small hill to our right and an impenetrable median to our left. I felt panic well up at the realization of our boxed-in state. My bladder sent out recurring warning signals as the time ticked away – 2:00…2:15…then 2:30. 2:45 rolled around, I could barely move.
I watched a man in a nearby truck hop out and head for the sloped hill to my right…hmmm…
Lord, that is NOT what I wanted to do in the snow.
“Boys, do you have to go potty?”
Cole and Chase were definitely up for stretching their legs. Trev gave me an encouraging nod and we jumped out, sloshing through dirty, tire-treaded slush. All I could concentrate on was reaching the top of the small hill and locating a spot hidden from the highway. As the boys did what boys can so easily do – yelling excitedly about melting snow in the process – a bubble of something joyous welled up inside me.
Are we really doing this…in the snow!?
My gaze fell on the cars on the highway, lined up like a child’s matchbox playground, then trailed around the flimsy trees and scrub brush lining the barbed wire fence holding us off from delving deeper into the woods. I faced the boys away from me and used their bodies as an extra security wall, giggling along with my children at what we had to do that afternoon…in the snow!
Later I was warmed by the realization that God knew this would happen, that He probably smiled at our snowy adventure, knowing the unexpected joy our necessary jaunt through the woods of Pennsylvania would bring. Snow. I was filled with gratefulness that He answers prayers in His own way and His own time.
What a relief that God is in control and we are not. What a relief that His wondrous works declare that His name is near, always. What a relief that when we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart – more than we can ask or imagine.
“God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength. He seals the hand of every man, that all men may know His work. The beasts go into dens, and remain in their lairs. From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds of the north. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen…Listen to this, O Job; Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.” ~ Job 37:5-10; 14