The colder weather in California recently got me to thinking about when I used to live in Fairbanks, Alaska. I remember the winters being very dark and very, very COLD. Negative 80 degrees cold. You could take a cup of steaming hot coffee throw it up in the below-freezing winter air and it would immediately turn to crystals and fall to the ground. I love fishing and I especially loved ice fishing in Alaska. I was always amazed at how you could pull the fish from the hole and within seconds it was frozen solid. Everything froze in the winter – even your car seats became like rocks. You never realize how hard you jump into a car until you jump into it and your butt hits a solid wall of concrete instead of a nice warm cushy upholstered seat. Then because the seat has no give, you don’t bounce off your tush – you SLAM and hit your head very hard on the roof of the car.
Living in Alaska is an experience you either love or hate. I loved it, even though the Alaskan winter is engulfed in complete darkness for about 40 days and receives about 155 inches of snow, it is still an amazing place to live. It is both beautiful and dangerous at the same time. That is why I still do not understand why I did what I did…
One winter I was driving home from work, via the Richardson Highway towards Eielson Air Force Base. It was a long ride – about 45 minutes to an hour, depending upon how bad the ice was on the road. Aside from watching for black ice, there wasn’t much to keep you occupied while driving. It could be downright boring since there is very little traffic on the Richardson Highway. Basically, if there were three cars around you, then you were in rush hour traffic.
During my daily boring commute, I would listen to the radio just to keep my mind active and avoid nodding off. It was a local station that gave tidbits of information and would warn you of any moose or other wild animals on the roadway. This evening the DJ was talking about windchill. Specifically the effects of driving in 80-below weather. He mentioned the usual precautions we needed to take, like putting aluminum foil in your front grill to stop the air from freezing your vehicle while driving. Then he offered a bit of trivia. He mentioned that if you were to put your hand out the window of your car while driving in negative 40 to 80-degree weather you would get an instant burn. So what did I do? Well…you guessed it. I carefully lowered my window and gently stuck just one finger out into the wind. I received an instant burn for my trouble – the largest blister I had ever seen immediately formed on my pointing finger! That danged finger hurt me for a week, and I never tried to do such a thing again. To this day, when my hands get cold that one fingertip turns a pure white from the damage I did to the nerves.
So this little trip down memory lane got me to thinking about my faith, my God, and my journey. I realized His word provides me wisdom and direction – just like that local DJ. It was written to help me avoid getting “burned”. It was given to me to help me keep driving safely through life. If I decide to test things out and go off on my own little journey, if I set aside the wisdom that He so graciously provided, then I need to be prepared to suffer the consequences.
So what is the conclusion of this little tale? Well, I would say, do not put yourself in places or situations that will burn you. Don’t roll your spiritual window down and cast yourself into the night without God’s shield of wisdom – His word, given to us in the Bible. Be adventurous, be bold – but, be wise. Surround yourself with the knowledge of God and bury His wisdom in your heart. Listen to the people who He has placed in your life. Your Pastor, your believing friends, your believing spouse, your parents. Give heed to the DJ’s in your life, beginning with God, your father. If you ever find yourself wishing to step out into the areas you have been warned about, remember the story of a gal on an Alaskan Highway who foolishly rolled down her window.
Riding with my Savior,