Blizzard of 1978

We lived in LaPorte, Indiana, in January of 1978. The blizzard hit on January 25, and we were snowed in our parsonage for three days. Thirty-nine inches of snow in 24 hours, driven by 40 plus mph wind creates havoc!

A lady just beyond us on our county road went into labor at some point in the blizzard. A front-end loader cleared the road for an ambulance to take her to the hospital. That meant two things. The first was that our road was relatively clear when the blizzard ended. Although it was pretty much a tunnel of snow to drive through, six to eight feet high just at the edge of the road.

The second thing it meant was that our driveway had that eight feet of snow piled into the mouth of it. That's why we were snowed in for three days. I could have shoveled for weeks and not moved all the snow. Eventually a kind neighbor farmer came by with a huge snow thrower on the back of his John Deere tractor and cleared our driveway.

So what do we do when a job is insurmountable? I didn't even try to shovel the driveway. I waited for the Trustees or a kind neighbor to help. I knew the job was beyond me.

I learned a couple of things from that blizzard. First was that the hardship brought out the best in people. People rode snowmobiles to shut-in neighbors' houses, got a list and made a grocery run for them. People like my farmer neighbor cleared out each other's driveways. People gave of themselves to help their neighbors.

The second thing I learned was that I could have done what I could do to move some of the snow from the driveway. Waiting for someone else to do the job did work, because my neighbor took pity on us and helped. But one shovelful at a time, I could have begun the work and kept at it slowly and surely. It brings to mind the old adage, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

Individually we find many things that are beyond our capabilities. I cannot end human trafficking. I cannot feed every hungry person in our county. There is not enough of me to fix what is broken in so many areas of our community and our nation. But I will do what I can do.

I may not be able to do everything, but I can do something. And it is the nature of the followers of Jesus to do what we can to help, to serve, to bless, to make a difference for others. Even if some problems are beyond my fixing, I will do what I can do! And I will leave the results to Jesus, who prompts me to give of myself to make a difference.

Another lesson from the blizzard of 1978 is related. One snowflake has virtually no effect on my life. But put enough of them together and drive them by wind, and they paralyze a nation. If all of us in the Body of Christ do what we can do, together we will have an enormous impact in the world.

I may not be able to do everything, but I will do what I can do. How about you?

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