Beware of Black Ice

Fun morning – started out as usual, headed to the office by the normal route, up a ramp onto a freeway. I’ve been doing it for 2 years now, and this winter has been decidedly un-wintery so far. No worries…. until I saw the ambulance backing down the ramp and the blue lights on the vehicle midway up. To my left, the subject, a truck that suddenly took a steep drop off the freeway and landed on the driver’s side. 

About halfway to the office, another set of blue lights, accompanied by a connected pile that used to be at least two separate vehicles. Almost there, and the pickup truck in front of me began randomly touring the width of the road, almost spinning around to meet me. We were on black ice. That driver regained control of his vehicle, and thanks to my Protector, I never lost control. Yup, fun morning.

By the time I arrived at the office, I had another modern metaphor – or devotional thought if you prefer. Black Ice. So named because the road doesn’t change color, even when it shifts from normal to deadly. We brace for it when the world is an icy wintery place, but on this day, at least four of us were completely unprepared.

In every life, there are places you can confidently go most days, but under certain conditions they become dangerous, even potentially deadly. Counselors use the acronym HALT to remind us to guard ourselves when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Under these conditions, we are more likely to make unwise decisions. These are similar to encountering black ice. Without warning, all your concentration must go into maintaining control and refusing to panic.

Alcoholics are warned to stay away from “just one drink” or social situations that would push them toward that New Year’s Toast… black ice. Smokers, just one smoke break with the pals…then just one puff….then just one cigarette…black ice. A quiet night at home with a special friend and a few romantic movies…cozy fire, one blanket…black ice.

I have every confidence that while I was watching the truck swerve just one car-length in front of me, while I focused on dabbing at the brakes & maintaining a strict 10-and-2 grip on the steering wheel, while I prayed that God Himself would get both vehicles under control…He did. When it comes to the metaphor, He makes us the same promise, in 1 Corinthians 10:13:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Monitor your conditions before you go into situations that you can navigate well on most days – because there will be a day, or a season, or a cycle, when for you these places could lead to a slide over the edge. When that happens, remember that God knows how to navigate you out of dangerous situations when you focus on Him.