It snowed on the 14"‘ January. It wasn't a snowstorm of epic proportion but it was enough to bring traffic to a halt in Heworth and Windy Nook. I was attempting to make my way from home to Wesley for the 9.30 prayer meeting and found myself trapped by the ensuing grid lock. I didn't make it to Low Fell and eventually at 10am l turned round at Windy Nook School and headed home.
Having been brought up in the North Pennines where snow was a fairly regular feature of an average winter I have learned to be prepared for winter driving conditions. I have a four wheel drive car, not because I have any desire to go off road, but because I want to be able to travel as safely as possible on snow and ice. I recently had new tyres fitted to my car because any car’ s traction is only ever as good as the part of the car that is contact with the road. I also carry in the boot of my car a shovel and a pair of wellies.
Not that any of this was doing me much good when I was sat in a traffic jam caused by the many drivers who weren't prepared for the snow and were apparently unable to drive successfully in winter conditions. So, there I was, sat in my warm and comfortable car, going nowhere, waiting patiently and watching, what at that point was quite a heavy fall of snow. As I did so a heavily built man, possibly in his late 20s or early 30s crossed the road in front of me on foot. He was wearing a short sleeved black T shirt that failed to adequately cover his midriff and had trainers on his feet. This man, unsuitably attired for the conditions proceeded to walk, not on the pavement but across the grass playing fields heading for who knows where! Before long he was lost from my sight. I hope he arrived safely.
Hoping for the best and failing to prepare for the worst are attitudes that we all adopt from time to time, but some more than most. One of my favourite sayings of Jesus is found in John 16:33 and goes like this, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." Jesus is talking with his disciples on the evening he is arrested, shortly he will be put to death. For his friends, the worst possible scenario is about to be enacted. So Jesus tells them to be prepared, trouble is on its way, but, trouble will not have the last word. He assures them that they are held in his Father's love and they only have to ask and they will receive abundant joy.
Troubles will come our way too, sometimes out of a clear blue sky, without warning. We will almost certainly not deserve them, but come they will. So when the storms come and troubles surround us how good it is to know that we are held in the Father’s love and all we have to do is ask and his joy and peace are ours to sustain us and carry us through to happier times. As we go through this time of Lent and anticipate the events of Easter I pray that we will all know that we are held in God's love and feel prepared for when trials and sorrows come.
Grace and Peace