A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity, or perhaps a mental lapse in judgment when my daughters and I drove across the country to return them to BYU after winter break. We decided that it was time for them to have a car, so it necessitated a road trip in the middle of winter. Probably not the best idea considering where we live we can practically where flip-flops all winter. I did grow up in Colorado and had braved six winters in Chicago, but I’ve been very happy to not deal with snow, especially driving in it.
We watched the weather and mapped out what we felt was the safest and wisest route, we even prayed about it. We decided we would take I-70 until we hit Denver, from there we would head up to Cheyenne and take 1-80 the rest of the way into Utah. The weather was downright frigid, but no snow was forecast; in fact as we drove through Wyoming it was bright, sunny, and clear and for the most part the roads were dry. It wasn’t until we neared Utah that we experienced some icy patches due to previous snow falls and blowing snow. I carefully drove through this patch, white knuckling it all the way.
Then we hit Utah and the only mountainous part of our journey. Again, there was no snow in the forecast and hardly a cloud in the sky. But for those of you who have driven in the mountains, you know that doesn’t necessarily mean smooth sailing. Again, we were blessed to have mostly dry roads.
As we neared Parley’s Summit, we began to see flashing signs that warned drivers to slow down due to icy road conditions. It didn’t seem possible, the sky was blue as could be and the roads were dry. It didn’t take too long for us to see what the warnings were all about.
Blowing snow mixed with a road that doesn’t see the sun because it is blocked by a mountain isn’t a good combination. A few of our fellow drivers on the road discovered that. See…they didn’t heed the warning signs, but kept their high speeds and when they hit the ice it was too late to slow down. Thankfully, no one was killed. It was a miracle they weren’t. One vehicle ended up halfway off of the rail, dangling above the steep canyon below. The other vehicle landed against the railing. It was a frightening sight to see.
We had heeded the warnings and were able to throw the car down into low gear and crawl at two miles per hour down and around the curve of the canyon road to safer, drier roads. Honestly, I hadn’t been that scared in a long time. Even though we were crawling, I was scared at what was around the bend, as I was unfamiliar with that stretch of road. I was also afraid there would be more drivers that didn’t heed the warnings and they would crash into us. Gratefully, none of that happened. But, I’ll tell you, I had never been so happy to see the Salt Lake Valley.
This perilous tale got me to thinking about all of the warnings the Lord has given us through his servants. Most of those warnings, if not all, come when we are on those drier roads with the sun shining and it looks like smooth sailing ahead.
Take the Word of Wisdom. When that health code came out almost 200 years ago, no one knew of the dangers or health risks of tobacco or the other items mentioned. Think of all the addiction and health problems that have been avoided by heeding that counsel. On the opposite side, look at the destruction those harmful substances have caused.
What about financial warnings. We have been warned to live within our means, save, and prepare. For a family that has recently dealt with a job loss, which thankfully didn’t last too long, I can tell you from personal experience, the money in our savings account brought me great peace. It wasn’t enough to last forever or even close to it, but if gave me comfort to know it was there.
What has the Lord promised us – If we are prepared we shall not fear.
That doesn’t guarantee us a trial-free life. No. In fact, He is preparing us for our trials the best He can. There are no getting out of those pesky trials. But, if we are doing what the Lord asks of us through his servants and through personal revelation, He will guide us through those trials, even if we have to crawl through them at two miles per hour.
My advice to myself and to you is to heed the warnings of our prophets–past and present. Remember, these aren’t merely guidelines. I understand that sometimes we may doubt what is said as it goes against the world or maybe even our thoughts and feelings; but remember, His thoughts aren’t our thoughts and His ways are better than our ways. If you have doubts about particular pieces of counsel, take it to the Lord. He will answer your prayers. He will help guide you safely through. Do it now before you hit the icy spots on the road.
I will leave you with one of my favorite scriptures. Doctrine and Covenants 6:36:
Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
Drive safe everyone!