Footprints in the snow

A change in weather and a missing child remind a mother that God is in control.

Sarah Hahm

My three-and-a-half-year-old son had been complaining about the snow. Only a few days before Easter, after what had seemed an early and warm spring, the cold rain had turned to ice and then snow. “Turn it back! Turn it back to rain!” my son yelled.

“Perhaps God will,” I said, “if you ask him.”

I thought of explaining to him how God once held the sun still in the sky for a whole day in response to one man’s prayer, but, given his ongoing fit, I didn’t think it was a teachable moment.

What happened next happened so fast! After putting on his coat and boots so we could go pick up his brother and sister from school, I let him out the door while I finished putting on my boots and putting some wash in the dryer. Now it was time to buckle him into his car seat, but he was gone. He wasn’t in the front yard, the backyard, the fort, anywhere in the house, or even in the van waiting to go. And I was terrified.

Then I saw them. Footprints in the snow.

I followed them. Down the hill in the backyard, onto the back path which runs behind our house, all the way up to where the path runs along the railroad tracks, and then onto the railroad tracks. There he was in the distance, walking right down the middle of the railroad tracks heading to where the tracks crossed one of the major roads in the village.

Few times in my life have I been so scared.

After I yelled three times for him to stop, he finally did, and I was able to catch up with him. I grabbed him in my arms and carried him the whole way home, while he told me about his wonderful adventure of walking on the tracks. I sternly told him how dangerous what he just did was.

A day later, when my husband returned from his business trip, he remarked, “Imagine, dear, if that rain had not turned to snow. There never would have been any footprints to follow.”

The rain turned to snow about an hour before I found my son on the railroad tracks. When my son ventured outside, about one to two inches of snow covered the ground. A half hour after I found my son, the rain returned and melted the snow.

“On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel, ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon.’ . . . The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day” (Joshua 10:12,13).

I did not pray for it to snow that day. And I am glad that God did not heed my son’s prayer to stop the snow. But I am convinced that God sent the snow that day and at that very time—at least in part—because he knew my son needed to leave footprints in the snow for me to follow.

God knows the plans he has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). He knows our going out and is familiar with all our ways (Psalm 139:3). And “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Including the weather.

Sarah Hahm is a member at Zion, Hartland, Wisconsin.



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Author: Sarah Hahm
Volume 104, Number 1
Issue: January 2017

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