Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Black Ice/Hidden Danger

Earlier this week spring was ushered in with 50 degree temps! Here in Michigan’s U.P. spring can be rather illusive; however, if I am being fair, our spring is just different from spring in other parts of the country.

I remember a time (a number of years ago) when the snow was melting and the sidewalks were almost dry.  It was time to begin long walks again! (Love being so close to the lake!)  The surface of the bay freezes over in the coldest winter months, so much that people drive large vehicles out on the ice in order to get to their ice fishing locations.

One especially beautiful day I excitedly put on my walking shoes and headed out the door. As I was energetically moving along on the path close to the water, I became aware of a tinkling sound…magically musical…a bit like glass clinking.  I stood very still, on alert, breathing in the moment. What was the source of this sweet symphony?

Every year there is a small window of time when the ice on the lake starts and completes the melting process.  At a pivotal point in time it breaks up into chunks.  Those chunks go into motion providing the most mesmerizing, heavenly rhapsody.  I think of it as God’s symphony! 

I do enjoy winter (honestly!) and celebrate the snow.  There is nothing like watching rosy cheeked children whiz down the park hill on sleds, whooping with joy.  A few weeks ago the ice boat races brought a sense of winter adventure as we watched them from the picture window of a local restaurant. And there is nothing cozier than a fire in our fireplace on a cold, snowy night.
However, one of the hazards of winter is something we call “black ice”, also known as “clear ice”. The ice itself is not black in color but because it is so transparent (and thin) it allows the black road (or the concrete sidewalk) below to be seen through it.  It is visually misleading making it difficult to discern that there is actually ice on the surface.  “Black ice” contributes to nasty falls.

What can “black ice” teach us about day to day life?  Most days I get up with a plan for the day.  My calendar alerts me to what I am hoping to accomplish and I get moving.  And then….I hit “black ice”.  I find myself facing a dilemma that I never saw coming. 

It could be a call from the Drs. Office suggesting I need additional testing (which has happened).  One day I received a desperate call from a friend who needed my attention; I was thankful there was nothing I had to really change that afternoon so I could get her to the ER. There are endless examples of “hidden danger” in the unplanned events that hit us broadside and threaten our equilibrium.

Is there some way to plan for such unexpected moments? I’m not sure there is much we can do to avoid the sidewalk ice besides watching our steps very carefully or just staying off of it.  But I believe we can prepare for the unexpected “black ice” in our lives.

You see, I learned long ago that I could not control all the events of my life. No matter how much I think through, pray through and analyze my decisions…life throws curve balls. I also learned that I belong to the One Who created me…the One Who is sovereign…the One Who loves me and had a plan for me before I was even born. Because of my status as “daughter of the King”, I’m assured the unplanned events of my life are not a surprise to God.

The book of Genesis in the Bible describes the wondrous story of creation and the orderly way God, through Jesus, brought it all about.  In Psalm 139: 16 we learn that His eyes saw our unformed substance and all of our days were written in God’s book before we ever came into being. God promises us in Proverbs 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Life’s “black ice” events do not have to frighten us. As we “seek Him with all of our hearts”, He reveals Himself.  As we delve deep into the love letters He sent us (the Bible) and as we pray and worship, trust grows and fear diminishes.  I am thankful to know I can get up every day, assured I am ready for whatever may come my way.