Miracles all around us. They are happening all the time, and for different reasons. Sometimes for us … sometimes for them … most always for “both” … always the same Source. We’ve all been a part of, and seen, miracles in our lives. Psalms 46:1 says that, yes, “God is our refuge and strength,” but He is also “a very present help in trouble.”
The next verse explains a lot: “Therefore (because of this) we will not fear” (46:2a). Because of this … God’s having helped us in the past … God having proved that He is there with us in every situation … because of His faithfulness to His Word … Because of Who He is and What He is … because of what He’s done for me in the past … because of this … I will not fear now. Because of this … it must mean … it has to mean … it just has to mean … that He is here, with me now … Because of this … I will call on Him … because I know He is there … because He has always been there … He must be … He has to be … here now … He always has been, so He must be here now … after all, He is “a very present help.”
Let’s go back a couple of weeks up here in Northern New Hampshire. To what I hope (as things begin to melt here today) was our last major snow storm of the season. I apologize if I don’t remember the exact day, but they have all looked a lot alike for many months now. I know this was a week or so before Spring, because I remember writing “Tis the Day Before Spring” a week or so after the storm.
I can’t understand how, when I hear the “old timers” talk, how they used to get something like four feet of snow a day … when, a couple of years ago, it was the “snowiest year” on record … and, the most we ever got was 2 feet … I do, however, “get it” when they say this is the coldest on-going Winter they can remember … This winter has been so long, that, as noted above, I’ve lost my memory as to just when “all this” started. I do know that, every year that we’ve been here, we’ve had robins in our yard before Spring … this year, it’ll be April in a couple of days, and no robins yet. So, somewhere in the middle of March, we got a big snowstorm. How big? How bad? Well, the forecast called for somewhere between 12-24 inches. The Winter just hadn’t stopped, and I couldn’t remember the “January thaw” we usually get. I still don’t remember if we got the “thaw” or not … the snow and cold has just all blended together this year, so I don’t think we got one. Maybe for a few hours … maybe … but I must have been at work … So this new storm, on the horizon, was looming …
I am reminded of a heavyweight boxing match, when the challenger has taken so many tough, hard punches, that it won’t take much to “knock him out.” I guess this was the way we were (hey-that sounds like a song!) when this storm came. We had fought so many tough rounds already … it may take less than a “championship” punch to knock us out, here in the final rounds of the fight.
I think it was on a Wednesday when the new snow began to fall. Just the beginning of what was forecast to be a “significant snow event,” with the snow continuing through the evening, overnight, and tomorrow. How bad? It was just before 1:30 that afternoon when the announcement came over the loudspeaker: “School has been cancelled for tomorrow.” Really? This had never happened before … As giddy as I was over the announcement, it also confirmed that this must be a serious storm. Even “old-timers” at the school (sorry for the designation, I mean well) said that they could not remember, ever, a time when School was cancelled THE DAY BEFORE!!! We’ve written often of how much snow we’ve gotten this year, but, we had not had a “snow day” yet this year. Last year, we had one snow day. And, one snow day the year before. Etc.
Anyway, the snow began to fall in earnest. By nightfall, several inches were on the ground … and, on the roads. For those of you who know, it’s not an issue, regardless of how much snow falls, as long as the roads are plowed. Well … this time … because of the length of the “snow event,” and especially since school had been cancelled already, there wasn’t as much an urgency to get the roads plowed. Plus, in such an event, the main roads keep all the resources tied up. Let’s just say I live on a “side road.” Still in the city limits, but off of the last red light, out of town. So, we are among the last to get plowed. I’m not complaining by any means; that’s just the way it is. So, we are on a side road, only a couple of houses, and our road is one long, continuous hill. Our driveway is also one continuous hill. What makes this so difficult in snow is because, when you turn into our road (from the “main road” below), it is at a 90-degree angle, which means that you lose any momentum you may have gained, as you start up “our hill.” Then, when you turn into our driveway, it is another 90-degree angle, so you lose any momentum you may have gained. In a nutshell, if our street hasn’t been plowed, and the snow is heavy, you just don’t stand a chance to make it … until the city has come, and plowed the street. You just can’t gain enough speed in deep snow to make it up the hill, and then, into our driveway.
There have been times, in years past, when we have parked one of our vehicles in the hospital parking lot, about a ½ mile away, because only one of our vehicles could make it up our street. Let’s say that someone comes home at 5:00 PM, but our street hasn’t been plowed. You just can’t wait until 9:00 PM or later (city is on 4 Hour cycles) to drive home. So, that’s what we’ve had to do. This was before we had gotten 4-wheel drive vehicles.
On this night, in mid-March, I had taken Carol to work, in order to leave the truck in our garage during the storm. The snow kept falling. And, falling. And, accumulating on both the driveway and the roads. It was late, very late, and it was time to pick Carol up from work. They had not plowed our street, nor had they plowed the main road below. Since we are on a hill, it is never an issue of “getting out;” we just roll down the driveway, and then roll down the street to the main road.
On this night, they had only plowed the main highway, at that last red light. I always say, after years of driving in the snow, that you can go anywhere at 15 miles-per-hour. Tonight, I went 10. I was concerned that, even with a heavily weighted truck-bed (I have 5, five-gallon buckets of sand up against the cab, 3 heavy pallets in the middle, and 8 concrete blocks on the rear), I wouldn’t be able to make it back up the hill to our driveway. As I traversed the streets leading up to where I would pick up Carol, it was plain that the city plows hadn’t been out. I was barely able to just get into the parking lot. In fact, even in 4-wheel drive and with all that weight, I would have to repeatedly back up in order to get out into the street, after she got into the truck. And, she was in a “more major” street, certainly, than we lived on. I had to wait. And, wait. She couldn’t leave until her replacement arrived. He was always on time, but this night, he was late. Unusual. This wasn’t like him at all, even though I gave no thought to what he must have had to drive through, to get to work. He finally arrived.
As Carol climbed into the truck, she was praying … praying that Jesus would help us get home … Oh, Boy … then, we had to keep trying, just to get out into the street … a driveway, and street, which were on level ground … she kept praying for us to get home safely … My eyes were on the road, but my ears were on her … praying … knowing that we had one big hill to climb … and, it was evident from her prayers, that we weren’t going to make it without help … She was right, even though she had not seen the hill I’d slid down earlier … but, I knew the same thing … we weren’t going to make it without help … We crossed the intersection at the red-light, and then cautiously worked our way through the snow. Those who have to drive in these conditions know what I mean by “worked.” Carol kept praying; I kept working. We make it through the main road, leading to our street. We had the sharp, 90-degree turn into our street, where we lost any momentum we may have had.
Then, it happened:
It was only later that I realized the significance of what lay ahead of us … I was too busy praying, and gripping the wheel … We were at the bottom of the hill; the truck’s headlights allowing us to see far ahead, up the hill in front of us. There … in the middle of the street … leading to our driveway … was a path … exactly in the center of the road … all the way up the hill … a perfectly plowed path … and, when I say perfectly plowed, it was perfect … dead-center in the middle of the road … it was plowed … not a big, wide swath, which would have been made by a city plow … but, it was narrower, much narrower … just enough for a truck … like ours … to perfectly get through … “Someone” had plowed our street … just our street … the main road (from the red-light) leading to our street was not plowed … if someone had plowed our street and turned around at the bottom of the hill, there was no evidence that this had been done … it was, as if, “Someone,” had just “dropped down,” plowed our street up to our driveway, and disappeared … I thought of the “delay” in Carol getting off work … How the fact that she was late, gave “Someone” time to “work behind the scenes,” which we addressed in Part 1 of this story …
This, now, explains the title of this story.
“Jesus at the Plow?” Aren’t we His hands and feet on this earth?
Recently, I received a beautiful, unforgettable birthday card from my niece, and her family. She wrote “Proverbs 3:5-6” as part of her personalization of the card. Yes, I love these verses: In fact, we have these same verses, with artwork from our dear friend Candy, hanging on the wall of our office. Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”The word “direct,” used here in “direct thy paths,” can also be interpreted as “make smooth or straight.”
Even now, I still see that path, plowed perfectly for us … so smooth, and so straight.
By the way … something else my niece wrote, in the card which arrived just before this storm: “Sorry the card is late.” No … I’d say the card arrived just on time … for, “such a time as this.”