You wake up in a cave, shivering and barely kept from freezing by a tiny fire. A howling wind drives a mixture of sleet and snow past the mouth of the cave. You want to stay where you are, but you cannot. You must reach the next traveler’s shelter before dark, and it will take you all day.
The day turns out to be much like the one before it and the one before that. You start out walking through slush, slipping and stumbling up the hills, falling and sliding down the worst of them. By late afternoon the temperature has dropped, the snowfall has picked up and the wind has increased to gale force, engulfing you in a terrifying whiteout. If you had been in your own front yard, you would not have been able to find the door to your house. Fortunately, your GPS keeps you on the right track.
Just before dark, you stagger into the next travelers’ shelter. You make a small fire with the wood stacked inside for emergencies and eat a meager supper from the dried rations on the shelf. Sitting on the floor, you lean against the wall and hope to read a bit of Scripture before you fall asleep. But you are too tired, and when the book slips from your hands to the floor, you don’t even stir.
In your dreams, you waken to find yourself bathed in light. The One you love is near, though you cannot see Him, and your heart cries out. “O Father, I feel so guilty. I feel like such a failure. I used to spend half an hour, sometimes an hour, reading Your word, praying, and journaling about my walk with You. You were so close to me then, but now I’m not doing those things, and You seem so far away. I’m so alone. Please don’t leave me. I’m sorry.”
“I haven’t left You, and I never will,” says the Voice. “During the whiteout did you sense the polar bear I turned aside before he could devour you?”
“When you took your worst tumble, did you see how I put My hand between you and the boulder that would have crushed your head?”
“No” (with hesitant wonder).
“I have been with you every step of your journey?”
“Why didn’t You make my road easier. I am so sore and bruised. Don’t You care about that?”
“Of course, I care. I love you, my child, more than you can comprehend. The hard road you travel is My road, and it has purposes that extend far beyond you and your family, so you must not think that I am putting you through this only for yourself. There, now. I have told you enough. Go to sleep. Rest in My love.
“Perhaps tomorrow or the next day or the next I will give you the quiet time with Me that you crave, but until then remember what My apostle wrote at the end of Romans 8: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”