This morning I sat and stared out my window at the snow that blanketed the lawn, shrubs and patio. What a non-typical Tennessee winter this one has proven to be. We rarely get more than a light dusting of snow, but we have about 5 inches now. It seems that Tennessee pretty much shuts down when we get this kind of weather. My girls have been out of high school, and college all week. We just don’t have the equipment here to clear the roads when we get a significant amount of snow.
Living in Iowa for nine years presented a stark contrast to Tennessee winters. Iowa gets considerably more snow than Tennessee. Amazingly, it was a rarity for anything to close for snow in Iowa. We might get three feet of snow overnight and schools would be delayed a couple of hours at best. But, Iowa is far better equipped to take care of the roads in this weather, because it is not uncommon to get a lot of snow there.
We have been back in Tennessee for three years now, and I can’t say that I’ve really missed the snowy Iowa winters at all. However, last winter I was invited back to Iowa to speak at a couple of churches. I was praying that God would keep the snow out of the forecast so I wouldn’t have to re-live the fine art of driving on the slippery, slick, treacherous roads. But, of course, it was Iowa so if it did snow the roads would be cleared quickly and it wouldn’t be a big deal, or so I thought.
Traveling with me were my two daughters, and my friend Joyce. My girls had spent the night with friends and were no doubt having a wonderful time catching up on all they had missed in the past two years in Iowa. Imagine my surprise when I pulled the hotel curtains back early Sunday morning to find it snowing—hard! I had to be in LeClaire (home of the American Pickers) to speak for the Sunday morning service in two hours. I hurriedly got ready so we could leave a little early. The roads were bad, but eventually we arrived. I pulled into the parking lot, quickly got inside the church building and the service soon began.
The snow did not let up at all during the service, and after church the roads had become much worse than before. Upon leaving the church I attempted to drive up a steep, super slick hill. Well, actually I attempted it many times unsuccessfully. I finally discovered a different route and was able to leave the impossible hill behind. From that point all was well until we got to the ramp to enter the interstate. It was an incline, and very soon I found myself spinning tires again and going nowhere.
Now, living in Iowa for nine years this was not the first time I had driven in these conditions. But, for some reason I was having much less success than ever before. As the cars began to back up behind me as I sat stuck in the same spot spinning tires endlessly, I could feel the blood rushing to my face. I tried everything I knew to do. I gently pressed the gas pedal trying to ease slowly forward until I could get traction and slowly build momentum. No way, I was going nowhere. Complete frustration was taking over at this point along with the utter embarrassment of holding up traffic for a good five minutes now.
It was at this particular instant that I threw my hands up, and said, “I can’t do it. We are just stuck!” Joyce turned toward me and quietly said, “Well we can’t stay here.” I didn’t say a word, but in my mind I was envisioning opening the passenger door and shoving her out into the snow. Her words were not helpful to me in the least at that moment!
Under my breath I prayed “Jesus please get us out of here!” Then it suddenly occurred to me that I needed to turn off my traction control. “Of course!” Traction control stops the tires from spinning and you lose momentum. But, when you are trying to gain momentum on snow and ice, it is not helpful. In all my frustration I had totally forgotten it was on. I switched it off and finally we were back in motion and soon arrived safely back at the hotel. I informed Joyce of just how close she came to hitchhiking back to the hotel when she said, “We can’t stay here.” We both laugh about it now, but as we sat there on that interstate ramp, it was anything but funny.
That particular instance reminds me of Psalm 25:15—“My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare.” So many times as Christians we can find ourselves spinning in a rut of complacency, and if not corrected we can quickly become stuck. Psalm 25 teaches us to seek God in the hard times, no matter for what reason we are in those hard times. I think James 1:5 is a succinct summary of Psalm 25: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
The context of James’ counsel is our need for wisdom in the midst of various trials, or even when we feel stuck. Sometimes we overlook the most basic things when we feel stuck or lose our momentum—like turning off the traction control in my case— but God says to ask Him, and He will give us wisdom in any of our trials. When we trust and seek God, we can expect Him to give us the wisdom to get unstuck. Don’t hesitate to ask God for wisdom in all of life’s struggles, and trials. --Donna
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.