Thoughts on Prayer: Safely Home
The phrase “safely home” has taken on new meaning this week for those in Central and South Alabama. A weather “event” occurred Tuesday, January 28, 2014. It started softly snowing around 9 a.m. ish, normally this is enough to close schools and clear every Wal-Mart and grocery store shelf of bread and milk in our mild temperate state. But this event was supposed to be different. It was supposed to be a light dusting in the Birmingham metro area. The brunt of the snow was supposed to hit south toward Montgomery, Mobile, and the Gulf Coast. We weren’t supposed to panic. We were supposed to go about business as usual. We did.
The weather, however, didn’t cooperate with the various models predicting the path of the storm. Imagine that…. The light dusting began somewhere between 9 and 10 a.m. Weather and road conditions changed for the worse in a nano second. Flash ice lay on our interstates and side roads. A topcoat of snow was covering the ice making driving conditions treacherous. As I said, we aren’t used to snow. We are more acquainted with ice but, only by the thickness of a frog’s hair. Birmingham purchased its first snow plow after the Blizzard of ’93. We are more acquainted with tornadoes around here. Consequently, our state emergency funds are directed for clean up in the wake of a wind event. No one was prepared for the developments of the next 48+ hours.
Interstate 459 makes a loop around the Birmingham Metro region. HWY 280 is accessible from 459, as is I-20 to Atlanta, GA. There are 149.7 miles from HWY 280 to Atlanta, GA. It was a parking lot for almost 48 hours. People from all socioeconomic levels were stranded on that stretch of road. They were also on every Interstate and side road in the area. It was a chaotic grid-lock. There were people bringing hot soup and drinks to drivers stuck on the interstate. Hotels were stuffed with people. Employees camped out at work. One neurosurgeon hiked six miles to another hospital to perform life-saving brain surgery. Babies were born. Strangers were invited into homes. Schools-and teachers-stayed opened to care for the children who couldn’t be picked up by their parents. People who owned 4 wheelers were carrying those who abandoned their cars to safety and warmth. A Chick-Fil-A owner gave free sandwiches and biscuits to those stranded on HWY 280…at no charge. Other restaurants and businesses assisted those in need. Churches were warming stations. The governor declared a state of emergency. Our citizens responded by enacting the Golden Rule. Sadly, some did die. There are accounts of those not so generous with their services but, I choose not to acknowledge them.
I was one carried “safely home” to my front door on the back of an ATV, where I have remained for the past 48 hours. I have had some time on my hands to mull over the events and random acts of kindness of the past 48 hours. I have noticed a common thread through each Face Book post, Twitter tweet, and instant message. Each text and phone call asked the same question: Did you arrive “safely home,” yet?
Everyone, with the exception of the truckers perhaps, was trying to do one thing: arrive home, with loved ones in tow, safely. Those who provided warm nourishment, housing, shelter, a ride, or a push back onto the road after hitting a patch of one inch flash ice assisted in helping us reach our collective goal.
Home. For most of us, it is a place of safety, rest, peace, and sustenance. It is where we find love, instructions for how to live life, and love others. We seek its solace when we are sick or in need of help. If the occurrences of the last few days are an indication, the majority of us are passionately determined to arrive safely home.
There is another abode we are seeking to reach securely. We may not be aware of our search or need but, it is there. We are hard-wired for it. We won’t rest until we step through its door. It is the common thread in our DNA. It is eternal. Question: Have you found your home in eternity? May I recommend a home in heaven through Jesus Christ? He is presently in heaven preparing a dwelling for us (John 14:1-6). He is coming again. He will show us the way through His word (the Bible), those who faithfully follow Him, and prayer. It is His Father’s desire that we all arrive safely home (John 3:16-17). May you have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart and mind to know He is the Way, the Truth and Life which leads Home.