Tales from the Mountain
December 13, 1967. I don’t remember a lot of dates (though I ALWAYS remember Valerie’s birthday and our anniversary!!!) but this date sticks in my mind. It was the day that two weather fronts collided over Flagstaff and then decided to hang out for a few days dropping 84” of snow; 7 feet! I was just 8 years-old and staying at my cousin, Tim’s house on Fort Valley Road, just outside the city limits, though in those days, it was kinda “out of town.”
As the storm raged, we were warm and snug in their house by the fire. Aunt June kept the hot chocolate coming and it was a fine adventure for two eight-year-olds. But after four days of snow it became apparent to the adults that the highway wasn’t getting plowed and the pantry was looking quite bare. On the fourth day, the clouds parted, and we began shoveling, 600’ of driveway. In retrospect, I wonder how much help two 8-year-olds were to my uncle, but I don’t remember him being upset or impatient, that was his nature, patient and, well, kind. Just about the time we reached the main road, we heard it rumbling up the highway; YAY! It’s the plow and we’re FREE!
I arrived home that day and started shoveling at home and then it started snowing again! A couple more days of snow. My great uncle Charlie sent me up on the roofs of his rental bungalows and the shoveling continued. I made a nice pile of cash that winter! Trucks couldn’t make it to Flagstaff because of snow and this was before the interstate system was finished. Shelves were pretty bare. Roofs collapsed, people were isolated, cattle starved, water pipes broke, but we had enough. The storm finally moved on and the sun came out.
Storms do that. They hit, sometimes very hard and then they move on. Some of you have weathered storms beyond words; war, depression, drought, family tragedy, disease, disappointment and loss. The coronavirus storm will pass too and we will make it through the financial debris of it too.
Psalm 91:1-5 We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods. This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark anymore, nor fear the dangers of the day.
We remember Matthew 8:23-27 where we see Jesus sleeping in the boat while the disciples panicked over the storm. That storm passed at the voice of Jesus. Then you have Nahum 1:7, Isaiah 25:4-5, Psalm 27, 46, 98 and others, all speaking about God overcoming the storms.
We will face storms – it is life in this world. But we know we do not enter the storm alone, God is with us. The storm will end.
Well, today the door of the church is locked, and the lights are out, but the church is open and at work because you are the church, this is just a building. I hope by the time you read this we are back in our gathering and worshipping together, but until then, we will keep serving each other and our neighbor. Here are some practical ideas:
- Stay in touch with neighbors, even if you are in lockdown. Encourage them, pray WITH them.
- Go shopping for someone if you can
- When you shop pick up what extra’s you can and drop them by the church for the West Valley Food Bank during office hours.
- Worship with us on-line and watch for mailings and emails.
- Start a Bible study in your neighborhood.
- Call those who cannot get out.
Remember Joshua’s words: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.