Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Big Storm of '08

Storms seem to take on epic proportions in people's memories. The last few days of cold and snow flurries in Enumclaw will long be remembered as the storm of 2008. After all, Sunday we woke to a blanket of 2" of the white stuff - more where it had blown into drifts. Today, they are predicting additional snow although it looks like we could scrape by with just a trace. You would have thought that it was several feet deep with temps in the low teens or lower. School is closed today and we are in a quandry as to whether things at church should be cancelled.

Growing up in Colorado, and having lived in Chicago for 5 years, I know snow storms, and this is no snow storm...that is until it is recounted and retold over the next several years. "I remember the snow storm of 08. There must have been at least 3 feet of snow on the ground and sub-zero temps. The worst storm we've had in ages." In a few years it will have reached epic proportions.

Of course, my wife accuses me of looking forward to snow and ice on the roads just so I can go out and drive on it. She's right. Once, when we lived in southern New Mexico, we had a rare snow storm that dumped 14" of wet heavy snow. All the roads - including I-25 & I-10 were closed down. Did that stop the Davis family? Ha! Not a chance. We all piled in the family 4 wheel drive (an Isuzu Trooper) and headed to El Paso to do some Christmas Shopping. Closed highway - no problem. And we had the mall virtually to ourselves.

It reminds me of the storm of 1971. "the worst blizzard in years" according to some Denverites. Actually, I think it was just my mom who said that and she tended to exaggerate storms anyway. It was January 2 and Judy and I were due back at Wheaton College after the Christmas break and a friend had offered his car if we would drive back with his wife and two kids aged 6 and 9. We said sure. It was a cool car and these were close friends. Why not? What could go wrong?

When we woke up on Saturday morning, the day of our planned departure, there was about 8" of snow and it was still coming down hard. I convinced Judy's and my folks that I was a good snow driver and that, since we were driving East, we should get ahead of the storm and be able to outrun it all the way to Chicago. Yeah, right!

We spun out on black ice near Kearney Nebraska. We got stranded outside Lincoln along with thousands of others. It was snowing so hard that at one point I was walking in front of the car trying to feel for the side of the rode so I could direct Judy who was behind the wheel. They said the wind was blowing in gusts of up to 50 mph and the wind chill factor was well under zero. There were drifts of at least 5' if not more.

Some really nice people about a quarter mile from the highway took us in - half frozen, hungry, discouraged - then began leading others to safety and shelter. By the time evening had rolled around, over 80 of us were huddled in two adjacent homes. What an experience. Next day, the roads were all closed - but guess what? That's right, we forged on and 15 hours of drift-dodging, lane-changing, slow driving, we made it back just in time to shower and head off to our first classes of the morning. Ah yes, the storm of 71. Worst storm ever!

But I digress. Sorry about that trip down memory lane. As I was thinking about how inconvenient snow, icy roads, school closures, and all are I received a letter from one of the missionaries we support in Southern Africa. It told the horrible tale of cholera, AIDS, rampant violence and incredible inflation in Zimbabwe. Sometimes, I don't realize how good I have it.

Then when I got to my office, I read a prayer/support letter from a friend in Casas Por Cristo - an organization that builds houses in Juarez, Mexico. He spoke of how increasing drug wars, escalating violence, and the crumbling American economy had deeply curtailed their mission of building houses with and for God's people in need along our southern borders.

Both these situations - Zimbabwe and Mexico - were set in perspective of God's sovereign grace as our missionary friends have had to trust solely on Christ's reigning power to meet needs protect them and accomplish God's purposes in spite of dire circumstances.

I guess a little snow on the ground and some cold weather isn't so bad. Maybe God is going to work in my life today in some unexpected, gracious way. In the meantime, I guess I will stoke up the fire in the fireplace, pour myself another cup of coffee, and enjoy the beauty and peace of falling snow....and oh, yes, spend some time praying for my brothers and sisters around the world whose lives really are difficult. I guess the storm of "08 isn't so bad after all!


Grateful for His Grace said...

Thanks for your words, Fred. You're right, in the grand scheme of things this doesn't even compare to Africa and other parts of the world. What's a little inconvenience, huh?

It is a great day with a "gift of time" (home from school) to be in His Word more today. We'll deal with the tacked on "snow days" later...

Pastor Fred said...

Thanks for your comment. If you are interested, the missionaries in Southern Africa have a wonderful blog called "Instead Bless" Really helps keep me in touch with the needs of others.
God bless you with a wonderful Christmas holiday from your kindergartners.