The peculiar glow made her realize that there was a divine presence nearby to guide her to safety.
Posted in , Jan 25, 2021
I stepped on the gas and shifted into drive, then reverse, then back into drive again. Gunned the engine. It was no use. My truck was hopelessly stuck.
It had been snowing when I left for work but nothing like this. I’d never seen snow accumulate so fast, and we get some pretty serious snowstorms in Oklahoma. Visibility had dropped to nearly zero. That’s when the truck had fishtailed off the road.
I need to get home to call Stephanie, I suddenly thought. My 11-year old had spent the night at a friend’s house. She was supposed to get a ride home soon with the friend’s father. I’d have to warn them and let her know she’d need to stay another night. No way should anyone be out in this weather.
Luckily, I hadn’t driven too far yet. It would take me only about 15 minutes to walk back to the house. I’d call Stephanie—this was 1983, before cell phones—then let work know I wouldn’t be able to make it in. My husband, John, a ranch hand, had the day off . We’d come back later to dig out the truck. Hopefully he’d already warned our daughter, but I couldn’t be sure. This storm was really spooking me.
I turned off the truck and stepped out onto the road. The wind rocked me back, and the driving snow stung my face. I held my purse out in front of me like a shield and started walking in the direction of the house.
By now, it was a complete whiteout. Snow filled my boots. My toes went numb, and I began shivering violently. I’d dressed for the cold, not a blizzard.
My mind flashed back to the old Westerns my dad loved to watch. I remembered one that had a blizzard. The ranch hand tied one end of a rope to a post on the porch, then held on to the other end while he went to tend the livestock in the barn. That way, he could find his way back. Even in that short distance, it was easy to get lost in a storm. A storm like this one.
I should turn back while I can still spot the truck, I thought. I’ll wait out the storm there. I turned around. But I couldn’t see anything. Not the truck. Not the road, not even my tracks. Everything was a disorienting blur of white. I had no choice but to keep trekking toward home. Yet it seemed as if I’d been walking forever. Had I missed the house?
I trudged on, my legs growing heavier. I couldn’t even feel my feet. The wind grew deafening. All of a sudden, I bumped into a telephone pole. I’d been so certain I was walking straight down the middle of the road, but obviously I was wrong. I’d been drifting.
Weak and exhausted, I collapsed against the pole. This county road, which cut through 2,000 acres of flat, featureless ranch land, was hopelessly empty. All at once it hit me: I was probably going to die out here. Tears welled up and froze before they could make it down my cheeks. I fell to my knees.
Goodbye, John, I thought. I love you. You were a good husband. I said goodbye to each of our five children, told them I loved them. Told them I was sorry I wouldn’t have the chance to see them grow up.
The wind howled in my ears. “Okay, God!” I shouted. “I’m ready!”
A profound sense of peace warmed me. My fears were carried off . I felt open to God, ready to feel his presence. I listened for his voice.
What was that?
Ting! It was a high-pitched metallic sound. Ting! Was I delirious? How could I hear anything over this roaring storm? Ting! There it was again! I struggled to my feet. Stumbling, I headed in the direction of the sound. Ting! Ting! I was way off the road now, in a field. I kept walking, trusting, the sound growing improbably louder when I shouldn’t have been able to hear anything.
Soon I was at the source of the strange noise—a tin rectangle I recognized as a protective covering for an irrigation pump. It was clanging against a pipe. Then something caught my eye. The faintest glow in the distance. Was it real? Could I trust my senses? I felt like it was calling to me. Not daring to take my eyes off the glow, even for a second, I walked toward it. With each step, I felt a surge of hope. I was going the right way. I could feel it.
I followed it until I found myself standing in front of my barn, next to my house, staring up at the lone streetlight on our stretch of road. I was home.
Later, after I’d changed out of my sodden clothes and John had wrapped me up in warm blankets, I learned just how bad it was. John had in fact called Stephanie shortly after I left, when he saw the weather taking a turn for the worse. The news was now reporting that the storm had forced closings of major airports all the way to Michigan. The wind chill was below zero, and I’d been out in it for two hours.
My coworker Lori had called John to let him know I hadn’t picked her up on the way to work. As I stumbled inside the house, John had been bundling up to go look for me. Thank God we both didn’t end up lost in the storm—or worse.
Many years later, I still think about that blizzard and that moment of utter helplessness when I turned myself over completely to the will of God. He met me in the depths of my weakness and lifted me from my knees to hear a sound I should not have been able to hear, one that led me to safety, to home.
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