A fair amount of snow fell for rather a long time; the temperature remained below freezing, and so we have a lot of snow. The road to the road on which our house is situated, and our driveway, are for now inaccessible without 4WD or chains. Happily, our vehicles meet these requirements superbly well, and I am thankful they do, because I find it a grand thing to possess the means to come home.
Our church had two imminently expectant mothers until Friday, when one delivered her beautiful daughter nine days “late,” as humans rather faithlessly calibrate these things—and the other delivered her beautiful daughter nine days “early.” Both arrived the same day, 13 hours apart—an amazing providential convergence.
My husband preached for our two services this morning while our pastor filled in for a colleague west of the Cascades. Our deacons are the husband and grandpa of one of the new moms, and both were out of town at the birthing center. My husband left early to help set things up, and we drove separately so I would not have to hang out, feeling conspicuously useless.
Despite having a superior-being car, I dislike driving in snow. It isn’t really the snow that generates my angst so much as the potentially lethal projectiles known in common parlance simply as “other drivers.”
My husband’s sermon caught me more off guard than even the other drivers with whom I had shared slush tracks a little earlier. His text was Hebrews 10:21-36, and he used Bunyan’s motif of the man in the iron cage to point us to the inescapable necessity of asking for what we require: God’s forgiveness.
Two things for which I often fail to ask forgiveness are, first, complaining about the hard tests awarded to me for my growth and sanctification; and second, for inexcusably poor performance on my tests. Like Jonah, I want it easy; I don’t want the “reward” the greater trial would bring. Jonah would have been happy hanging out under his little shade plant, enjoying a simple life. He didn’t get that God had something much greater for him: the honor of preaching to 120,000 Ninevites God had reserved for salvation.
In no way do I mean to suggest that I have been set aside for something grandiose or special! Each of us, at our own level, invariably under-performs. Sin makes this inevitable. The man in the iron cage points us to the need to ask forgiveness of our sin: for rejecting God’s right to assign us duties, and for callous disregard in performing our assigned duties faithfully, well, and without complaint.
It was a lot to think about, driving home on melting snow, conscious that to several hundred people over the next twenty minutes, I would be an “other driver.”