On the way home from the East Coast a few weeks ago, we drove into a blinding snow storm. Outside the car windows, the world became a white wall. The road, a broad white sheet with ridges and stripes from the tracks of cars and trucks, offered no white or yellow lines to guide us. For six hours Tom piloted our little Honda Fit among transport trucks, vans and SUV’s, as slush and wind jerked us across the slippery surface. I prayed and tried hard not to give advice.
This was not a time for “back seat driving”, so I talked with God. “I’m trying to trust. I know my friends are praying for us. Is it our time, to leave this world God? My novel isn’t finished yet. Do you have more work for us to do?” Every time I looked up, my fear level rose another notch. Silently I chanted, “I’m trying to trust. I’m trying to trust.” Eventually, we drove through that storm onto bare highway. We survived without an accident and I am truly grateful.
The lesson for me is very clear. Trusting God requires determination. We often think or say, “Let go and let God.” Sounds simple, but it isn’t easy. Faith takes courage. When the going gets tough and life feels out of control, we stand in the shoes of the father who cried out to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) We struggle to hang onto our faith. We want to trust. We seek God’s help. That’s all God asks of us. That prayer will get us through the worst life has to offer.

Ripple Effect

It’s January. The new year has begun. As always, in this part of the world, we start the year with the snow and cold of winter. Our trees are bare. Our part of the world is reduced to black, white and grey. Yet it is also a time of hope. Sleeping in the ground and on the branches of trees, are buds, resting and waiting for the birth of new life that will surely come. That promise is there whether or not we can see it. The same is true for people. God has created us, with potential. Even in the winter times of our lives, the buds are there, waiting to burst forth.
Writer and theologian, Madeline L’Engle, says “We are part of a vast world of relationships whether or not we want to be.” Everything we do, say or think affects our world in some way. We know that a smile or frown, loving or harsh words affect our inter – reactions with people. We forget that the results are passed from person to person to the farthest reaches of the world, through actual encounters, letters, emails and thoughts. Like a tsunami, the waves start out huge. As the waves disperse, the effect appears to be less. Yet even the tiniest ripple makes a difference, just as water dripping on a rock eventually bores a hole.
As you step into this New Year, begin each day with this prayer: “Lord help me to be a blessing to at least one person today.” Be intentional about bringing warmth to this world. Remember, God’s promise of new life is there, whether or not we can see it.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:4-5)