“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left keep your foot from evil.” Proverbs 4:25-27
Growing up in Phoenix AZ and now living in Lubbock TX I am certainly no stranger to blowing dust. I remember one massive dust storm in Phoenix approximately 1988. I was driving home and got stuck on I10 headed into a terrible storm moving into the valley. If you are unfamiliar with the area, at that time the freeway crossed over a dry riverbed, next to the airport with a lot of new construction going on. Keep in mind the entire city is surrounded by desert and I am sitting still in the middle of a wasteland, dust has been picked up by the strong winds bringing visibility in the area down to just past my windshield wipers. It was scary but again traffic was at a standstill so panic hadn’t really set in. The rain came in and turned the dust in the air to mud, eventually making driving a little less hazardous, if you call a summer monsoon in the middle of the desert less hazardous. I was young and bullet proof so I made it home just fine with no real stories to tell.
Fast forward to 2014, I am now living in Lubbock TX, I am no longer young-ish and not at all bullet proof. Any adverse driving conditions get me to panic mode almost immediately. It was April 27, 2014 and the wind had been blowing all day increasing in speed as the day went on, by early afternoon the winds had hit sustained velocity of 45-50 mph. In case you are unfamiliar with this area, Lubbock is surrounded by farmland, miles and miles of farmland. In the summer and fall when the fields are full and grasses cover the plains the dust is at a minimal. However in the winter and spring before the fields have been planted dust is high, very high. Lubbock is also known for its very arid climate so this keeps the dust loose and light and to top things off Texas has been in extreme drought conditions for most of the year. So when I left my house that day for my 250-mile road trip I had no idea what I would run into.
Thankfully, for most of the drive, although dusty, visibility stayed right around the half mile to a mile range, not bad, I could handle that. As I drove further South down Hwy 84 I hit pockets of thick dust, dropping visibility to less then a quarter of a mile. At a few spots visibility got into the feet range. I slowed down. I knew there was no need for panic as long as I could see far enough in front of me to be able to recognize debris or vehicles that may have run into trouble. Then the inevitable happened, I hit a pocket of air that was so thick with dust that I could not see past the hood of my truck, I slowed even more, as did other vehicles around me. I did find safety in numbers because we were all in this together and nobody wants to have an accident.
I drove at 30mph not sure what I should do. Paying close attention to what may be in front of me. There is no way of knowing how long I will be in this cloud of dust. Unlike rain pockets that last only a few miles, most of the time dust storms go on for many, many miles. I keep inching along wondering what I should do, should I keep going or should I pull over? I continue to drive while I debate this issue within myself. Many of my fellow drivers have decided to pull off the road. They are sitting on the shoulder. I guess waiting for the storm to pass. I counted at least 20 vehicles on the right shoulder, probably just as many on the left. As I continued on I did notice a car that had been rear-ended, everyone seemed to be okay and both vehicles were out of the driving lanes so I kept going. There were others who chose to keep moving as I did, just inching along, not sure what lies ahead or how long this will last. Still others were finding places on the shoulder to pull off and wait it out.
Just a few miles down the road I drove through this thick patch. The curtain was lifted and visibility is back up to at least a mile. Those that decided to pull over are still in the middle of it all, waiting and wondering.
The sky is still dusty and there seems to be another thick patch ahead. I’m not worried. I made it through because I kept my eyes forward, I kept moving, I stayed the course and did not falter.
As we walk through life we encounter times of indirection, crossroads or uncontrolled changes. How do we know what God has in store for us? God wants us to just keep moving forward. Slowly at times more quickly at others but to just stop and wait is futile. The dust storm unlike a rainstorm will only stop when the wind stops blowing this could take hours or even days. The decisions that we face in our lives can take weeks, months and even years.
The answer is to just keep moving, to be steadfast in our commitment to Him, His will, our families and ourselves. Sitting still is not an option. Keep moving and our path will become clear.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Ps 121:1-2
Steadfast synonyms: loyal, faithful, committed, devoted, dedicated, dependable, reliable, steady, true, constant, staunch, solid, firm, determined, resolute, relentless, implacable, single-minded, unchanging, unwavering, unhesitating, unflattering, unswerving, unyielding, unflinching, uncompromising.