I’ve never been much for pulling off the road in a rainstorm. Probably has something to do with barely repressed machismo, middle-aged male ego and maybe a few other things as well. But at least part of it is fairly keen memories of Dad driving through snow, rain, dark of night and whatever else lay between us and our destination. “Just slow down enough so that you can see at least a few seconds in front of you and keep moving,” he’d say in a way that was hard to tell for sure whether he was talking to me or to himself. “If you pull over and stop you’re more likely to get hit by someone who’s driving too fast for the conditions or just not paying close enough attention.”
And so over the years I’ve driven through some pretty intense storms, some of which had induced other drivers to pull off the road and wait for someone like me to run into them. I never obliged on that point, I’m happy to say. There were times when I slowed down to twenty-five or thirty miles an hour but I kept going. As long as I could see a few seconds in front of me.
Yesterday’s storm here in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma set a new high water mark for my driving experience.
We drove through several miles of intense rain and wind heading over to the Lowe’s store at Ponca City. The rain fell by bucketfuls and the wind blew it into sheets that crossed the highway at a slant. Then it got worse. Even though the rain was falling by truckloads the wind was blowing so hard that there were no rain “drops” on the windshield. There were horizontal streaks running from west to east with no downward drift. “Well,” I mused out loud but in way that was hard to tell for sure whether I was talking to Randa or to myself, “this is probably as close to driving in a hurricane as I’ll ever come.” Randa was hoping it would be as close to driving in a tornado as either of us would ever come.
We made it to Lowe’s albeit in considerably slower fashion and with a bit more concern than usual.
By the time we headed back toward Ark City, the sun had emerged and starked a beautiful rainbow against the dark hindquarters of the storm that had moved on north and east. An SUV driver who thought fifty-five was way too slow passed by us on the left. He was barely ahead of us when his vehicle suddenly slipped sideways a foot or so. I slowed a bit but he didn’t. He kept right on going as if he didn’t want to be late to his next hydroplaning appointment.
Whether in the midst of the storm or in its aftermath, we know that God can see our path clearly, no matter how intense the circumstances that cloud our vision. We know that as long as we keep in step with his Spirit, we are on the right route. And if we sometimes find ourselves sliding sideways a bit, it might be that we need to ease up off the gas for a while.