Yesterday I chased the aftermath of a Texas ice storm as I drove to East Texas. The roads were clear by the time I came through but the impact of the roads that had been covered by ice that morning was evident. The shoulders of the interstate were covered with deep ruts where cars had spun out of control and imbedded in the mud. Some cars were abandoned along the way. Perhaps the most striking was the trailer portion of an 18-wheeler that had spun out of control and was facing into traffic and extended slightly into the driving lane. The driver had disconnected from his load and headed for warm safety.
At my exit near Canton, TX was the beginning of a 4 to 5 mile traffic jam on the interstate. While waiting for the person I was meeting I sat and watched the line of cars that were going nowhere fast. Yesterday was a miserable day for many people trying to make their way across icy roads in many states. Being stuck, whether in a ditch or in miles of traffic must have been a helpless and frustrating experience.
Even more helpless is the feeling of being stuck in life. I’d like to share with you a few things that came to mind yesterday while I was driving. Most of it is advice I have received over the years from wise mentors and friends…
- Disconnect – Many from the older generation worry about the hectic and fast-paced lives those in my generation live. It is true, we are closer to our mental and emotional breaking point more than most other generations. We sleep less, medicate ourselves to happiness, and are connected to every aspect of our life. Over-informed is a good way to describe it. I was advised to take a break from technology now and then and have found it to be very healthy. I have a quiet time from technology every afternoon from 12pm-1pm. My phone filters out all but the most emergent of notifications. It is healthy to disconnect from all this information we try to process everyday. The trucker that did a 180 on I-20 yesterday must have been terrified as his rig went sliding across the interstate. When the terrifying ride was over, they got out of the rig and disconnected from their load to return for it when conditions were better. When life spins out of control for us and we find ourselves stuck we must disconnect from our load too. Sometimes this isn’t possible in the moment, but we must do what we can.
- Call for help – There is no doubt that motorists across the country were calling for help yesterday. Many drove into situations that rapidly changed from safe to dangerous, quickly finding themselves spun out and stuck on the roadside in sub-freezing temperatures. Both 911 and AAA reported a high volume of calls for stranded motorists. And no doubt many friends and relatives were called to help. When life spins out of control we must also know who to call for help. God should be our first call when we get stuck. He won’t magically extract us from our situation, as many presume He will, but He will provide opportunity, comfort, and other forms of help. It must be amazingly difficult for our heavenly Father to watch as we make decisions that lead toward trouble and disaster.And of course having a good support system of friends and family is an incredible blessing. Just this morning my wife was at the house dealing with a dead battery on the van while I was at the office. I knew I could pick up the phone and call my Dad or three of our neighbors and any of them would come help her get up and running without any hesitation. A dead battery is a minor problem compared to things that can happen in life. It is good to have family and friends who will drop everything and run to help you when trouble arises. It is also good to be a friend and a family member who is willing to run and help.
- Pay Attention – Many times we can avoid trouble if we will just pay attention. I studied the road condition maps and weather for a long time before I headed out yesterday. I knew exactly where the traffic snarl was and made my plans to meet just short of it. When we pay attention to the advice and guidance offered to us in the Bible and by wise friends in our life we can avoid getting stuck or ‘spinning out’ in life. How many people have ignored wise guidance and wound up in a world of trouble?
For our Dinnertime Devotionals this week I picked several verses about listening to parents. This study may not be very popular with your teenagers but it is a lesson I wish I had learned earlier in life. I hope that these devotionals are beneficial to your family this week >>> Dinnertime Devotionals 9