I’ve been away from the blog a couple of weeks because I was visiting my parents in Newfoundland. And, yes, I was there during one of the massive storms – the one with the 100 mile an hour winds. My parents live on a hill, and there were times it felt like the whole house was shaking! But this didn’t faze us. Newfoundlanders are used to a good storm. It snowed, and it blew and then it rained freezing rain and it blew some more and then we woke up the next morning, and it was…gone! After a night of some of the craziest weather I’ve experienced in a long time, we woke the next day to look over mom and dad’s yard to see absolutely nothing. There was hardly a trace of snow left. It almost looked like it had not even happened.
Or so we thought.
Turns out that while the rain had indeed gotten rid of some of the snow, most of the snow hadn’t actually gone that far. Like I said, my parents live on a hill. The road up to their house is a small side road that ends at our house. And, although we couldn’t see it, that’s where the snow was. There was hardly any snow in the yard, but the entire road to our house was waist-deep in snow. The wind had blown all the snow there. And we weren’t going anywhere until that snow was moved.
(this is a picture of the view from the front of our house…obviously not from this winter…)
So I got thinking about how often storms can be like that. We didn’t really see most of the storm since it happened at night. When we looked out our window, we could convince ourselves that nothing much had happened, but when we went a little farther we had to admit it wasn’t true. There was a storm. It was close. And it had made us stuck.
Sometimes we all find ourselves living in the aftermath of that kind of storm, the storm you didn’t realize was there until you tried to move forward and realized that it was holding you back. It can be frustrating to be in a situation where you think things are going along okay only to be blindsided by a waist-deep snow drift. It can happen for a few reasons. Sometimes there is a secret we haven’t been told, and then – boom! – we see the snow-laden path we didn’t notice until that moment. Sometimes it’s a choice we make to pretend the storm isn’t there. We focus on the beautiful yard and say “That didn’t really happen! I’m okay! I’m dealing with this just fine!! I don’t need any help!” And then you try to walk forward and realize – you’re stuck. Or sometimes you didn’t see the storm coming. You started out a normal day and by its end everything had changed. You didn’t know she was going to leave. You didn’t know you were sick. You didn’t know that was going on with your child. Your life seemed like that lovely clear yard, and now all you can see is that snow-covered road and you don’t know how to get out.
It can feel that way on the road that leads to God. This week I preached about Jesus’ words when He said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” We talked about how Jesus is the path that leads us to know the fullness of God. Yes, there are many different steps on the journey, and many different ways that people get closer to that path, but, like that small side road to our home, there is just one true way to God – through Jesus. And sometimes, like our side road, that road is blocked. The storm has gotten in the way, and we don’t know how to get there anymore.
So, what do we do when that happens? Well, I know what we had to do. We had to dig.
It can be a lot of work. In fact, we couldn’t even do it on our own – we needed a plow to come and do most of it for us. You may need help, too. But – if I may suggest – it’s worth digging. It was nice looking at our yard, and all, but there was so much more to see. We didn’t want to be stuck where we were forever. We wanted the fullness of life beyond our little patch of land!
If you are stuck – for whatever reason – I invite you to start digging. Dig into a church. Dig into God’s word. Dig into the hard questions. And if it gets too overwhelming, get some help. There are a lot of people who will help you clear the way.
Once our road was clear, we got in our car and went out for the best Chinese food on the Avalon Peninsula. What great things could be in store for you when you get to the other side?