Just Ten Minutes
I woke up at 2:30 a.m. in a hotel room in Illinois, 300 miles from home. The room was cold and dark. Sleet pelted against the window. I opened the curtains. Snow covered the windshield of the car.
Dread of the next day’s trip home twisted my stomach. Why had I ever decided to visit friends in weather like this? The fear lurched into other questions. What if the car wouldn’t start? What if I slid on the ice and rolled off of the highway? What if I wrecked the car?
God, help me, I thought. I am so afraid.
An answer appeared dimly on the other side of my fear: Just think about God for ten minutes.
Ten minutes, I thought. I can do that.
“Let’s see,” I said to myself. “Jesus loves me. He died for me. He’s with me right now.”
I stopped for a minute. The sleet sounded louder against the window. “Jesus knows I’m afraid.” My voice sounded tiny in the small room. “He’ll help me.”
I found Gideon’s Bible in the nightstand and crinkled the pages until I found a psalm that would help me keep my mind on God. It was Psalm 107 – and seemed made for people in trouble.
In each stanza of that psalm, the Israelites are in the middle of a crisis – and usually, it’s a mess they have brought on themselves. Sometimes they are lost:
Some wandered in desert wastelands,
Finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
And their lives ebbed away. (v. 4-6).
Some became fools through their rebellious ways
And suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
They loathed all food
And drew near the point of death (v. 17-18).
The Israelites are hungry, imprisoned, addicted – even drowning at sea. Yet in each instance, they turn from looking at the problem to looking to God.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble
And he delivered them from their distress (v. 13).
God never forsakes them. The hungry are fed; the imprisoned are freed; the addicted are healed; and the mariners are saved. Each problem turns into a new way to see the power and love of God. It becomes a psalm of praise.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
And his wonderful deeds for men,
For he satisfies the thirsty
And fills the hungry with good things (v. 8-9).
The ten minutes I had planned to spend thinking about God had stretched into half an hour. God took care of the Israelites, and I could now believe that He would also take care of me – even in the middle of a snowstorm.
I lay back down on the bed, repeating the verses I could remember from Psalm 107. The words swept over me like a blanket, and I fell asleep.
The next day I drove home in a snowstorm, filled with His peace.