On Ice, Roads, and Fear

This November, we had a record-breaking snowfall that began just as my Aunt and baby cousin flew in from California. Welcome back to Michigan. She teased that maybe she should rent a sleigh instead of a car, and it might have been a good idea. Snow kept falling from the sky. Within four days, we had twenty inches. Schools were cancelled, people warned to stay off the roads. It was a good few days to stay inside and be thankful for homes and heat.

That Wednesday was a work day for me, and as much as I was hoping for another snow day, another day to stay inside by the fire, it didn’t happen. A few of my friends and I texted early, sharing in our terror of the roads. One told me that they were a little scary but not too bad, he made it to work okay, and I would be fine. I later discovered he had less than two inches down where he lives. Thanks, dude. Give me two inches any day. I feel like I just drove through Elsa’s fury or something. My 15 minute drive took over 30, even in my 4-wheel drive pickup truck. I think my tension levels are higher than an astronaut’s are before takeoff… now I have to get home.

I read this morning that the weathermen are referring to our part of the state as the snowbelt, and that seems accurate. We tend to get dumped on, way more than my friends who live an hour south, and even more than my friends who live an hour north. We woke up to several more inches today, -11* wind chills, and another snow day.

I’ve always liked snow, always firmly believed that if it’s going to be cold out, there might as well be snow too. I think that fresh snow is beautiful. Then I started driving, and suddenly snow seemed a bit more evil. Winter driving conditions are nothing to laugh at in Michigan. On the highway, cars are in the ditch about every ½ mile, and all through the neighborhoods are tracks of vehicles sliding into yards and mailboxes and lampposts. There’s so much snow. So much ice. So much wind. It stresses me out.

A friend and I were discussing this stress the other day, how we’ve turned into weather-checking maniacs and how scared we get if we see that little snowflake on our weather app or, even worse, freezing rain. As we were joking about it though, conviction hit me.

I claim to trust God with my everything: my life, my day, my plans, my health, my friends. Can I not trust Him on the roads too? Isn’t it God who sends the snow? He knows when even a sparrow falls to the ground… do I really think that I could spin out, hit another car, crash into a tree, or even die without Him knowing it? Without Him caring? It seemed ridiculous to me that I could get so caught up in all my anxieties and forget to receive the peace that comes when you hand over your fears to Jesus.

I’ve been convicted of choosing fear over trust, and anxiety over joy. That’s not how I want to live my life. So when I shut my truck door, I’m taking a minute to remember that He tells me, “Do not fear, for I am with you… I am your God.” When it looks like I’m driving through a swirling vortex of white, white, and more white, I’ll just turn up the radio for more reminders that He loves me. And when my brakes grind and my truck keeps sliding, you can bet I’m praying frantically, but that my heart is where it should be, in the hands of a holy God, and that whatever happens to me, I’m trusting that His plans are always best.

The Bible is filled to overflowing with reminders not to fear, that anxiety and worry are not of God. I don’t want to be bound by my fears any longer, my fears of the weather, or of growing up, or of life. It’s okay to be cautious of unplowed roads and ice-sheeted highways, but it’s not okay to cower at home and complain about them. We are told to rejoice always.

So I’m choosing to see the beauty in the unbroken white. I’m choosing joy in that I have a working vehicle, a college to attend and a job to work. I’m choosing thankfulness for beautiful Michigan, and the glorious life God has given me here.

Baby, it’s cold outside. So we might as well let it snow.

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