Image by tworm via Flickr
Both trips were during the dark of night. The first was uneventful except for seeing decorated Christmas Trees out on the lakes along the way. This beautiful spectacle was not a surprise as a friend of mine at work who comes from Little Rock had told me to be expecting them and they far exceeded my expectations. Impressed by the colorful lights of the human-made trees, little was I to know the God-made light show that was to be provided for us the next night. But the admission ticket was high.
In Maumelle, we had a delightful visit with our friend and said our tearful and regretful good-byes a little before midnight. We started out on our journey much as we had begun the night before, expecting an uneventful ride.
Early into our travel we encountered the fog. There really needs to be another word for this because it wasn't any ordinary fog, it was thick, swirling and frozen. Most of the time we could not see more than ten feet -- if that much-- in front of our car. Our pace slowed to a crawl and we both sat perched on the edge of our seat as if our position could somehow enhance the visibility. The strangest part of it though, was the sound. I kept hearing a soft, crunching sound. I didn't realize what it was until we stopped at one point for gas. The car grill and both outside mirrors were caked in hunks of ice.
The road was virtually empty, as Glen said, "Everyone got the bad fog memo except us." I am quite sure, however, that the Lord sent us some angels in what a friend describes as "bubbles of warmth we call automobiles" to help us along our way.
At one point when the visibility was particularly nonexistent, a small car pulled out from an intersection in front of us. We were to make a left turn in 500 yards (God bless our GPS we have named "Daphne" because without her we would still be driving blindly through the streets of Arkansas) but there was no way we would be able to see where to actually turn. Then we saw the blink of the car's turn signal, the car ahead was going exactly where we needed to go. Watching their path --and they overshot the turn by a little--we were able to see our turn clearly and avoid the ditch on either side. I am convinced the Lord sent that car precisely at that moment to guide us on our way.
Had we been on any other stretch of road, we would have pulled over to stop, or even rented a hotel room. The shoulders of the road at this point, however, were incredibly narrow and there was not a hotel to be found for miles and miles. To be honest, there could have been a Ritz Carlton right there on the side of the road, and we would not have been able to see it, the visibility was that bad. We needed Rudolph!
Then, almost miraculously, the fog disappeared. We drove out of it into a very cold, crisp, exceptionally clear night. The contrast was incredible. Our journey turned us down a road with wide, flat shoulders. I looked out the window to enjoy the clearness of the sky and was amazed at the sight which greeted me. The sky was literally over-populated with stars. I mentioned it to Glen and he tried to see it while driving, almost as dangerous as driving in the fog, but couldn't he get a clear view.
Finally we decided to take advantage of the wide shoulder. We pulled over and got out of the car. Never in my life have I seen a sight like this. Usually when we view a sky full of stars the sky still looks smooth with the points of light punctuating the dark. This sky was so full of stars of differing brightness, the sky had a textural appearance. It reminded me of a woolen cap knitted with that knobby yarn I've seen in craft stores. It was as if you could not find a single spot of completely black sky.
We stood in wonder and amazement. Awe is the only word to use. How much sweeter too, that we shared the moment together and we shared this absolutely incredible view after sharing that absolutely. . .(I need a word. . .I think the British have a perfect adjective for this. . .) after sharing that absolutely bloody drive through the fog. As tense and nerve racking as the fog had been for me (Glen maintains he was never tense), the stars were just as awe-filled and praise-inspiring.
As we stood there craning our necks upward, I didn't ask the Lord for it, I just told Him rather, that I had never in my life seen a shooting star. Why was I even surprised that in less than a minute, I saw a star with it's shiny trail make a trek across the sky? It was the perfect top on the perfect cake.
We had just experienced the most wonderful visit with one of our dearest friends and met some of his friends who quickly became our friends as well. We shared the moments of difficulty in the fog followed by the moments of untold joy looking at the sky.
Those few moments standing under an unbelievable canopy of God's grace made every difficulty, every missed hour of sleep and rest, every trace of tiredness and discomfort absolutely and completely worth it.
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."