Over the past few days, we experienced a winter storm, dropping about twelve inches of snow on the area in about 48 hours. While this amount of snow is more than usual, it is not unprecedented for anyone who has spent more than a few winters in NE Ohio. It reminded me of a winter years ago that changed my life forever.
It was January of 1994. I had been working for GE Aircraft Engines, my first job after graduating college. However, the economy fell flat and I had become the victim of downsizing in mid-1993. My job search had yielded few results and I had recently taken over my father’s pizza shop in an effort to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit as a potential career alternative. It quickly became clear, however, that selling pizzas in Russellville, Ohio was not going to produce long-term fortunes.
We were experiencing a difficult winter that year. I recall a two-day period that the temperatures were historically cold – less than -20 degrees F (if my memory serves). It was at that point that I had a revelation: I could go back to college and pursue a graduate degree. And go somewhere warm to do it. Although I hadn’t any interest in grad school during my undergraduate journey, it seemed to be worth exploring at this point, especially considering the bleak prospects that I had for beginning a career. Coincidentally, about two weeks prior to this revelation I had finally made the long-delayed decision to accept Christ and turn my life over to Jesus. It felt as if the prayers that I had made for direction had been answered.
In the weeks ahead, I would do research, take entrance exams, visit schools and complete applications for graduate programs in my area of interest. Doors opened and I found myself accepted into a program at Auburn University with a full scholarship! Never had I seen such an opportunity become reality so quickly. There was no doubt in my mind that this was God’s intention for me.
When I moved to Auburn and started classes that fall, doors continued to open for summer work, which would eventually lead me to meeting my future wife in Mobile, AL. As I continued to follow the path presented by God, He would reward me with a perfect partner, three children and many more blessings too plentiful to list. Although I have struggled to stay on His path at times, my efforts to follow Him have always yielded blessings.
Just to be clear – I still don’t care for cold weather. I’m looking forward to retirement and relocating to a more moderate climate in my senior years. But I am reminded of my personal experience of following God’s plan when facing the bitter cold of winter.