Now that the calendar says it’s spring and the snow has almost melted away from our yard, I’m looking forward to finally packing away the boots and snowsuits so we can make room for warm-weather clothes. This winter wasn’t too bad, as we had occasional breaks from the cold and only a handful of big snowstorms. But one of those storms we did have certainly gave me a few grey hairs.
When the forecasters first started predicting one of the big storms in February, I found myself panicking. Jim was going to be out of town, and my father-in-law (who is always wonderful about helping out in a pinch) was stuck at home with an injury, so it was just going to be the five kids and me in our house, riding out the storm. Now perhaps most people who grew up with snow wouldn’t panic at the thought of being housebound for a day or so, but I’m afraid I’m still a California wimp at heart. I started thinking of a thousand “what ifs” – what if someone gets hurt and I can’t get them to the hospital quickly because our driveway isn’t clear, what if we lose power and I can’t keep the kids warm, etc. etc. As it turned out, everything was fine. Jim told me how to use the snowblower on the tractor, the lights stayed on, and the kids and I had a great day enjoying each other’s company and watching the snow fall. But in the moment, when I felt like the responsibility for taking care of my family was all on my shoulders, I was a wreck.
A little over a month later, we got word of another impending storm, even bigger than the last. The forecasters were describing the storm in apocalyptic terms. But I wasn’t scared or even the least bit nervous. Why? It wasn’t because my experience in the last storm had taught me I could handle whatever happened. It was because I knew Jim was going to be home. I had complete trust in his ability to handle the plowing, keep us warm in the case of a power outage, even snowmobile us to safety if the situation called for it. I knew he would take care of us.
I was recently thinking about all this, about the fact that my perspective on the storm was based on whom I was trusting. I trust my husband to take care of our family in a literal storm; how much more should I trust the Lord to carry us through ANY storm, literal or figurative? Just as my mind is at ease when I consider Jim to be in control of our family’s well-being, I can have complete peace, peace that passes all understanding, when I remember that the actual Creator of the universe has my family in His Hands, and has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. He has promised to care for His children far better than Jim could ever care for our children (and that’s no slight against my husband!). So there’s no need for fear or worry or dread when I think about the future. Sometimes I scare myself thinking about those “what ifs” when it comes to the kids, especially since we’ve been hit the past few months by so many stories of family and friends’ cancer diagnoses. Possible illnesses and injuries and tragedies in the future, while they seem as dangerous and unpredictable as an ice storm, should not shake my sense of peace. I can even release the day-to-day worries that creep in, such as: am I going to have enough energy to keep up with these kids today? How am I going to stop this child’s tantrum? It’s not up to me, or my store of energy, or my bag of tricks. My sustenance, on a moment-to-moment basis, is in God. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit” (Jer 17:7-8). Just as my salvation is entirely dependent on who God is, not on what I have done, so is my peace of mind dependent on His character and His sovereignty, things that are blessedly out of my control. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isa 26:3,4).