On January 12, 1888, a blizzard roared out of the skies of Canada and fell upon the Northern Plains of the United States. People of Montana, the Dakotas, and Nebraska felt the temperature drop 18 degrees in just three minutes. It kept falling, the wind kept howling, and the snow kept blowing. And within hours, a relatively warm winter’s day became a frozen siege that took the lives of at least 250 people. The air was so thick with crystals that people couldn’t breathe. Visibility was so poor that people couldn’t see their hands in front of their faces. Meteorologists call this zero/zero visibility. A person can’t see up or horizontally. As a result, a woman near Sioux Falls froze to death with her key in her hand just steps from her door. A husband and a wife died while walking in circles past each other in their farmyard. Most of the people who died, did so because they simply couldn’t find their way out of the storm.
The ones who survived relied upon bearings and markers to show them the way. Like Mr. Cotton, the schoolteacher, and the two boys Andreas and Johann Graber. They set out from the schoolhouse in the direction of the Graber homestead. The wind laced needles of snow in their eyes. The drifts pulled on their feet. The whiteness covered the roads and trails. Soon they realized they had no idea where to go. Then the air cleared, for just a moment, and they spotted a row of trees. The boys recognized them as the fruit and nut saplings their father had planted. The trees lined a path from their front porch. If they could move from tree to tree, they would be home.
Maybe that is what you need. The sudden storm has left you blind, disoriented. Do you need a series of markers to guide you home? Make one. Through the years I have found this question a good one to ask in times of crisis. “What do you still have that no one can take?” Granted, the storms can take much, but they can’t take all. So, right in the midst of the snowstorm, (ER, County Jail, bankruptcy hearing), make your list.
The promise of heaven
A family who cares for me
A God who knows me
God’s word to guide me
Make the list; then, like the boys in the blizzard, let it lead you to a safe place.
©2012 Max Lucado
Laskin, David, The Children’s Blizzard (New York City, NY: HarperCollins Publishers,2004), 1,134,142,252.