As human beings, by nature we tend to get into routines and take for granted what tomorrow might bring. That is what happened to me and thousands of other people in Birmingham this week during Winter Storm Leon. On Tuesday morning the city woke up like normal as kids went to school and adults went to work. My wife and I went about our normal routine of me dropping her off at staff meeting, then I heading to the seminary office where I work. We were even looking forward to Bible Study that we have every Tuesday night in our home. However, by 10am everyone’s routine was interrupted by a winter storm that was predicted to hit 125 miles south. By the time I got to the office flurries began to fall. I even stepped outside to enjoy the frozen precipitation that we do not see much in Alabama. By 10:30am the parking lot and vehicles were blanketed with snow. At that point I headed out to pick up my wife who had been let out early. I was unable to get to her office due to wrecks and stacked up traffic. By the grace of God I was able to get back to my office where I called her because cell phone towers were overloaded. One of her co-workers was able to get her to my office where we stayed together. At lunchtime all of the roads in the Birmingham area were frozen and thousands of motorists were stranded trying to get home or unite with family members. Many people abandoned their vehicles in an attempt to make it home or shelter on foot. Yet, hundreds of people were forced to sleep in their vehicles as they could not get home. My wife and I were able to spend two nights in the office of my seminary which meets at The Church of Brookhills. We are so thankful for the blessings of a warm shelter, food, and the hospitality of the Brookhills staff. As a result of this abrupt winter furry I have learned an important lesson, or shall I say that I have been reminded of lesson I should have learned a long time ago.
I learned to never take time for granted. The Apostle James says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit,’ yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16, ESV). I remember thinking Tuesday when we left the house “we should be home by 4pm.” That did not happen, we did not make it home until Thursday at 11am. We all do it, we run out of the house for what we think will be a few hours, but we never know when or if we will make it back. There are people who left the house on Tuesday that will never make it back home because they were killed in an accident. It is for this reason that we must remember that every moment we have is precious and not take it for granted.
We could allow this to cause fear and not make plans. Yet, it is good to make plans, and routines can be helpful in stewarding our time well. But, every now and then we are knocked out of our routine and our plans changed so that we remember that we are not in control. As we move forward from this week and get back into our routines let us remember that the Lord is in control and we can trust him in all circumstances. That should not cause us fear, but give us great comfort that our lives are not dependent on us, but are held in His hands. As the hymn says, “Because I know that he holds the future, my life is worth the living just because He lives!” May that bring us great comfort.