The last few weeks my family and I spent traveling. We were in Marion, OH for a week and Windsor Canada for a week. Last Thursday, though we’d tried to make this appointment for my husband in Columbus, OH while we were staying in Marion, Dan had a meeting in Columbus. The original plan was to get up early on Thursday, cross the border and drive the 4 hours, have the meeting and drive back. We knew that would be stretching it, and in perfect driving conditions it would have worked.
However the weather had different plans. My parents heard that the weather was supposed to be bad, so Dan and I left the girls in Canada on Wednesday, spent the night in Marion and drove to Columbus the next morning. Driving to Columbus that morning was okay until we got into the city. The snow had already started and there was too much traffic. I was the one driving and I was already close to tears by the time we got to our destination.
We weren’t sure if we were going to stay in Marion that night or make the drive back to Canada. Though it was snowing it didn’t seem too bad. We’d be on the highways. . . how bad could it get….Really? We could just drive back to Canada that night. All would be well.
I am not a screaming-freaking-out-squealing-girlie-girl. If I see a bug it won’t make me cry. Honestly, I consider myself having very few fears in life. However, if there would have been an alligator in the back seat of my mom and dad’s Crossover that night, I can honestly say I would have faced every fear I have in life.
It wasn’t that bad until we were about 30 miles south of Toledo. I was driving, and suddenly the traffic stopped. We waited for miles in a slow crawl of traffic only to begin seeing cars that had slid off the road.
The radio announcer boomed through the sound system, “We want to alert all of you drivers that unless someone is hurt in your vehicle, no one will come for you in your car. Emergency crews are spread too thin at the moment due to the weather.”
Even then I’m not sure it occurred to me how bad the weather was the further we inched north, until I tried to stop and the antilock brakes started to vibrate like the tune of a South African drum. When the traffic allowed for people to drive faster, I saw them try to do so. Then I’d see them in the ditch up the road. I clutched to the steering wheel in raw white fear, praying to God. Every time I thought we could go slightly faster the black ice would fishtail the car. I suppose at this point I should have let Dan drive. I honestly didn’t believe he would keep going slowly enough because the black ice was deceiving. We have friends that live in Toledo. I almost called them and told them that I was sleeping on their floor, or considered springing for a hotel. However when I looked at the exits they were filled with snow, and it seemed that we’d get stuck there too. The most logical choice to me was to keep moving forward. I have a very big fear of semi-trucks, highway medians, and sliding. I was facing it all trying to pray and knowing this was not the way I was going to enter into glory. My children would not be left orphans.
As we left the Toledo area and entered Michigan the roads did get slightly better, but then we had the option do we take the Tunnel to Canada or the bridge. We’ve usually opted for the bridge but on a perfect day it kind of scares me because it moves while you’re so highly suspended from the water. It is easier to get off the highway onto it, but I kept thinking that’ll be iced over and there was no where we could go but the Detroit River. I insisted we go for the Tunnel. We had a GPS all should be fine. However, I got off on the wrong turn. As I almost got stuck in the snow in downtown Detroit as Dan loudly declared, “Don’t stop!” (Downtown Detroit isn’t the safest area after dark, and I was in a luxury crossover in back alleyways, although according to our friend there isn’t nearly as many murders in Detroit in severe cold, so I guess if we’d gotten stuck in the huge snow drift we’d have been okay.)
When we crossed the border into Canada that night, I was on the verge of tears. It took us about an hour and a half longer to get there than it should. I know both sets of families were worried. We should have just stayed in Ohio for the day. I’m not sure I realized how upset I was until my father-in-law graciously made me a cup of tea, and I sat in my in-law’s kitchen holding back tears.
I realize that we probably made a stupid mistake by opting to drive. But I was so grateful that even in our stupid choice God was still with us.
Deuteronomy 31:8 ESVIt is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Isn’t it beautiful to know that God’s protection, guidance, and omnipotence are not based on us? We are graced for His race. God is with us even in the midst of our bad choices, fearful moments. Yes, we do have free will, and His will is always better. . .God was with us despite our poor choice. He is the peace in the storm.
I believe God was with us that night as we plowed ahead through snow, black ice, and the inner city of Downtown Detroit. We found out later that I’d made the right call about the bridge. A friend of a friend had been on that bridge that night and was talking about trucks sliding all over it, and it was the worst sight he’s seen on it.
God’s hand was on us that night, and it’s on you. Be still and at peace knowing He sees where you are, loves you in the storm, and is guiding you to His ways.
God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited.