I wonder how many times we have driven from our home (wherever it happened to be) back to Texas, where both of us were born. If I had kept records of all our trips, I would have fodder for several books. Most of the time we drove down Highway 69 through Oklahoma, or I-30 through Arkansas to Texarkana, then across to Dallas, but sometimes we took Highway 44 to 69 to head south. How many miles? Tens of thousands, probably. We've been doing this since 1957 when we went to Kansas City for my husband to attend seminary. At least twice a year, we went back to visit relatives in Fort Worth and Dallas. Sometimes we had very little money in our pockets, relying on a credit card to pay for gas. We stopped at parks beside the road to eat food we had brought from home and to let our children run off some energy. We drove at night a lot of the time so the kids would sleep and we could travel without any bickering or whining or begging to stop here or there.
Now that we are older and can afford it, we can stay at a hotel when we need to, like tonight at a Best Western in Joplin. We'll be home tomorrow, hopefully before Storm Q hits our area with ice and possibly snow. That makes me remember one of our long trips, when our children were in elementary school.
It was February, just as it is now, and we were traveling from Sedalia, our home at that time, to the funeral of my paternal grandfather in Dallas. It was late at night, and my husband was driving. We had driven from Sedalia to Springfield, MO, then we took Hwy 44 to Hwy 69 where we entered Oklahoma, and turned south. The snow which had begun earlier that evening was falling heavy and thick. Charlie pulled to a stop at the side of the highway below an underpass and said, "I just need to rest awhile, then I'll drive some more." The kids were asleep, and I leaned my head back to rest, too.
Suddenly, something woke me with a start. I said to my husband, "Move over, I'll drive."
"Just a little while, honey, I'm so sleepy," he said.
"No, you don't understand," I said. "The Lord told me to drive this car."
I was not a proficient driver at that time, especially in snow. I drove only occasionally, and these were very bad circumstances. But I felt a positive nudge from God and I knew he would help me drive that car. I felt an imminent danger and knew we had to get out of that spot and away from the heavy snow.
Charlie looked at me and said, "Well, I don't argue with God." Then he got out and I moved into the driver's seat while he walked around the car, got in, and immediately went back to sleep. I carefully pulled out into the traffic and began to drive slowly through the heavily falling snow. After about an hour or so, Charlie woke up and he drove the rest of the way to Dallas.
A few days later, as we returned on the same route we had used heading south, we saw snow piled high on the sides of the road. The highway was still slick and snow-covered. Abandoned cars sat on the shoulder of the road where people had left them. We learned that on that same highway where we had sat for a few minutes under that underpass, only a short while after I started driving, police had stopped all traffic because of heavy, drifting snow. If we had stayed there, we would have been stuck for hours with no blankets to keep our children warm and no way to move our car out. God got us out of that particular situation at that definite time and helped us get to our destination.
Tonight we are heading home a day early to avoid another storm, hopefully. Our son, Steve, needs to get to Chicago for the weekend and his flight to Germany on Tuesday. If we don't get home before the ice and snow hits, we may be in another situation similar to the one back in the late '60s when God helped me get that car out before we were snowed in with our little ones. I feel confident that God will lead us now, these many years later, just as He did back then.