The wind was steady and the snow was blinding. I could barely see my own outstretched hand as I shuffled through the deepening snow. My bare legs were now numb from the cold as I plowed through drifts nearly up to my waist.
Jesus’ footprints were barely visible and disappearing quickly. I had to keep moving. I found myself running, stumbling, falling, getting back up — again and again.
My numb shins began to burn and itch from the prolonged exposure. My eye lids were nearly frozen shut. I had to keep peeling off the frosted flakes in order to keep my eyes on the trail Jesus was blazing.
Worse than the cold wind and blinding snow, was the deafening silence I was experiencing. Snow has an insulating effect, a way of dampening the sounds of around you, until all you can hear is your own breathing and your own thoughts.
And the last thing I wanted in the world right now was to be left alone with my own thoughts.
“Jesus!?” I had been yelling out continuously, but I hadn’t heard his voice for probably 30 minutes — which felt more like 30 hours.
In the ripe silence my thoughts grew louder. Have you ever listened closely enough to your thoughts to discern they often take on different tones? At one moment they had the voice of a scared child crying out for help:
Where is he leading me? How much further? I’m cold. I want to go home. Please slow down, Jesus. I can’t keep up.
The next moment my thoughts had the sneering tone of the Accuser:
This is all your fault! You brought this upon yourself! You should just lay down, close your eyes and fall asleep into peaceful oblivion.
Then the voice of truth again:
No, follow Jesus’ footprints! That’s all I need to do. He will guide me through this.
But the snow only increased and the tracks were beginning to disappear. A huge blast of wind came suddenly, and I found myself stumbling forward, face first into a drift. In the few seconds it took to gather myself, I had somehow lost my sense of direction. Which way was I heading? My cold, numb muscles struggled to pull me to my feet.
When I finally stood up and looked around, the footprints had completely vanished.