A number of years ago, my husband, brother and I did something which probably wasn't the smartest thing in the world. We deliberately drove into a South Dakota blizzard. If you've ever been in a blizzard on the Great Plains of the United States, you're probably thinking that I'm crazier than you ever thought possibly. If you have not, you need to understand something. There are few if any trees. There are very few towns and ranches are miles apart. It's the perfect place to be if you want complete solitude. It's not difficult to go a long time without seeing anyone if that's what you really want.
The winds come barreling down from the North Pole, sweep across the Canadian plains and into the U.S. There's really nothing in between to even slow down these winds. If there is a blizzard, it means there will probably be white-out conditions. You can barely see in front of you and it is easy to get disoriented. Not so long ago, these blizzards would strike without warning and it was not unheard of for people to be found frozen to death within feet of their homes or barns. They couldn't find the building and wandered around until it was too late. With the advancements in weather forecasting, people are less likely to get caught in these monsters. However, lives are still lost or people suffer permanent injuries every year as a result of being caught in a blizzard. Trust me, you don't want to mess with these blizzards and anyone who has been through one will agree with me I'm sure.
I'm a Minnesota girl. Although I grew up on the edge of the Great Plains rather than actually on them, I'm well aware of the dangers of these blizzards. While I never suffered frostbite, as I grow older I am more acutely aware of the fact that I suffer from the effects of having frozen my toes, fingers and ear lobes when I was a child. That's pretty typical for anyone who spent their childhood in a pretty harsh winter climate. We take the weather very seriously up here.
So, why did I deliberately drive into a South Dakota blizzard? Well, you see, it was right before Thanksgiving. My mom was living in South Dakota and teaching on a reservation out in central South Dakota. She was scheduled to have a biopsy as well as surgery the following week. I was frantic. My mom had only been in a hospital to deliver babies. She wasn't even born in a hospital. She'd been born out on the farm. While I couldn't be out there for her surgery I was insistent on going.
Two days before we left, we learned that a blizzard might hit. My husband asked if I was still insistent on trying to go. I was. However, lest you think I was entirely foolhardy, I need to tell you what we did next. We prepared to face the blizzard.
We checked our winter emergency kit and made sure we had everything we needed. I filled thermoses (yes thermoses) with hot water and of course, I brought cocoa. We packed hand and foot warmers. We put our Sorrel boots inside our vehicle so they would be nice and warm if we needed them. We had our coffee can, candles, sleeping bags, extra blankets, gallons of fresh water, high-energy snacks, flashlights, kitty litter (for traction if necessary--chains and studs are illegal in Minnesota), shovel, etc. You get the idea. We were packed with emergency gear just in case we needed it. My motto is if you pack for an emergency you'll never have an emergency. I should also add that none of us were novice winter weather drivers. All three of us had driven in blizzard conditions numerous times so we did have some experience as well.
We set off. I would call my mom every hour so she could track our progress. That way, if she didn't hear from us after an hour, she'd know approximately where we probably were stuck. She lived right off the highway we were on so we never had to get on any other roads. That helped. There would come a time when all phone service would cease until we got onto the reservation but until then, we kept the line of communication going.
We obviously made it or I wouldn't be writing this right now. Suffice it to say, it took us 15 hours to drive 400 miles. That's what happens when all you can see is swirling white. At least hardly anyone else was out there on the road!
As Christ-Followers, this world is dangerous territory for us. If we hope to impact our world for Christ, we must entered it prepared! We must stay in constant communication with God and keep lines of communication open with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I am fully aware of the power of the prayers of the saints! I don't think we utilize that as much as we should. It is a valuable resource we must not ignore. We need to stock up on the Word of God at home, church and everywhere we can. We need to fill our hearts and minds with things which are pleasing to God. They need to be things which build us up rather than tear us down.
If we are going to walk in this world victoriously; if we are going to withstand the attacks of the enemy, we must be prepared! So, stop an take an inventory of yourself. Exactly how prepared are you? Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6:13-18 (MSG)