Aren't you glad the God is watching all the time for week of January 12, 2012

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By Bill Horner

  Aren’t you glad that God is watching all the time


“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy” (Psalm 33:17-19).

Call me crazy, but I enjoy winter weather.  Well, I wouldn’t enjoy it all year round.  But it is a nice change for a few months from the sweltering humidity of summer.  And, not having seen snow up close until I was nine years old, I have always been fascinated by a four or five inch accumulation of the white stuff.

Winter weather played an important role in the settling of our state, too.  In 1779 James Robertson led a small party from the Watauga settlement in what is now northeast Tennessee to a sight on the Cumberland River known as French Lick.  On Christmas Day they crossed the frozen Cumberland, driving their cattle ahead of them.  They called their new settlement Fort Nashborough.  Their location proved to be a good defensible one against the Cherokee attacks that followed.  A replica of the original Fort Nashborough stands today in downtown Nashville on the site of the original fort.  It is only on rare occasion that the Cumberland has frozen over solid.  The survival of the settlement might have turned on that detail.

The Lord in His mercy and power often turns great outcomes on small details.  My grandmother Mimi learned that lesson during a frozen river crossing of her own as a child.

Mimi spent most of her childhood in the Midwest shortly after the turn of the twentieth century.  Winters on the prairie could be particularly harsh.  And the lack of good transportation and roads, coupled with the sparse population, meant a long daily walk for her to school, even on such cold days.   An out-of-the-way bridge to cross the local river made the trip even longer.

But in the dead of winter, the cold could sometimes be a helper.  When the river was frozen solid, Mimi could walk across it and cut down her total distance considerably.  That was her plan the morning of the mishap.  As she started out the door that morning, she was well-layered to provide warmth against the bitter cold.  She topped off her attire with a heavy winter coat and set out.

The river had been frozen for days.  As she approached it she could easily see that it could support her weight.  So off she trekked.  But somewhere in the middle she heard a dreadful noise—the ice was cracking.  She instantly turned back to try to reach thicker ice near the shore, but it was too late.  The next instant she went crashing through the thin ice into the painfully cold river water.  Desperately grabbing at solid ice, she watched in horror as it broke off in her hands.  Finally she grabbed thicker ice that held firm.  Slowly she pulled herself out. 

Her layered clothes had soaked up the water and weighed her down.  Had she been pulled under, she would never have been able to reach the surface, much less climb out.

But she didn’t sink.  That thick, heavy overcoat, spread out over the surface of the unbroken ice around her, provided enough support to keep her afloat.  Had the hole in the ice been larger, had the coat become waterlogged, Mimi would have gone down.  She would not have grown to adulthood, married my grandfather, given birth to my Dad.  And you would be reading someone else’s column right now.

God protected Mimi in her hour of need as an inexperienced child.  But why does He not intervene to rescue everyone who lands in trouble?  We cannot know that answer this side of eternity.  But if someone handed you a great Christmas gift, would you dare fault them for not giving you even more?  It is by the grace of an Almighty watchful God that the Fort Nashborough settlers, my grandmother Mimi, or anyone else ever escapes disaster.

 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:23-24).