Some months ago, I accepted an invitation from Pastor Derek Morris, president of Hope Channel International, to participate in a Hope Channel Partnership Weekend for December 7 and 8, 2018, at Ridgecrest Retreat Center just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Hope Channel is broadening its scope of information to supporters regarding its mission outreach. It was a very nice weekend of mission focus with many wonderful Hope Channel soul-winning stories shared with attendees at the meeting. Sabbath morning, I shared a short mission emphasis presentation of encouragement from the Bible and God’s amazing leading around the world.
The program went very well inside, but outside something was brewing. A heavy snowstorm was predicted for that weekend. It did not materialize until late Sabbath afternoon after much of the sharing about Hope Channel had taken place. On Saturday night, we left the partnership meeting to stay with our daughter Elizabeth and our son-in-law David Wright, who pastors the Hendersonville Church a few miles south of Asheville and not far from the Asheville Airport. As we progressed by car that evening the short distance to their house, the snow became more intense, and we barely made it up a long hill just before arriving at their residence.
Very early Monday morning, I was to fly out to Loma Linda University Health in California for their December board meeting. However, it snowed heavily all Saturday night and much of Sunday. When we woke up Sunday morning, we discovered about 13 inches (.3 meters) of snow on the ground! In addition, we discovered that we had lost electric power about midnight after going to sleep, and the power was not on as Sunday dawned. That meant that we had no electricity, no heat, and no water since the house was on well water and needed a pump.
We enjoyed our “snowed-in” setting for a while, but it began to get cold in the house and life was not as easy as we normally enjoy with everything taking time to process or accomplish. We had a small camping heater and a camping stove. However, you can only use those a certain amount of time because of the carbon monoxide challenges. We bundled up and tried to stay warm and focused. Fortunately, my daughter had anticipated this possible outage of electricity and had made an abundance of soup and other needed food items to keep us going through any problems. However, the electricity never came back on, and we began to wonder what was going to happen.
Because of the snow, my early Monday morning flight was canceled, and then a second flight that United Airlines had scheduled later in the day was canceled, so I never got to California! We were getting frustrated with no water or heat or electricity and finally removed enough snow and ice from the very long driveway to go to some sympathetic church members’ home to warm up and take showers. What a blessing to take a hot shower after no availability. I have traveled to many places around the world and have come to the conclusion that luxury is running water and real luxury is hot running water! We certainly affirmed that maxim that day! We did have a good opportunity to spend time with our grandchildren sledding in the snow—there was not much else to do since we were basically in “survival mode” of providing for basic needs. What a time to lean on the Lord for support and for a good mental outlook, which is not always the case when you are tired, cold, hungry, and without water!
We returned to the house and had to provide for every aspect of life without the normal conveniences we take for granted. Many people around the world have to haul water to their homes, and we had to as well during that period. Fortunately, there was a pond nearby where we could obtain water for sanitary conditions. To live without power, heat, and water for about three days showed us a small glimpse of what we will have to endure in the future during the time of trouble when we will need to depend on God for our every need, including food and shelter. Finally, we decided to travel about two hours to be with some other relatives until the electric power came back on (a branch had fallen on a powerline and had damaged an electrical pole, which meant that a focused procedure was needed that took days to finally accomplish).
It was a blessing to get to our relatives’ home and enjoy the blessings of electricity, heat, hot running water, and good food. Our relatives accepted these “refugees,” and what a blessing it was for all of us. How easily our “normal” life can be disrupted by the lack of certain “normal” expectations—let’s remember that many people in the world cannot expect to have such amenities on a “normal” basis. It is amazing how much we ARE dependent on electricity for our modern lifestyle.
We finally got word that the electricity had been restored at our daughter and son-in-law’s home, so we headed back. What a privilege to enjoy the conveniences we come to take for granted. We need to thank God every day for the simple blessings we enjoy, recognizing that we will face enormous personal challenges ahead during the time of trouble. However, we have great assurance from God regarding His protection and care for those who completely accept Him and rely upon His saving power. I am thankful for the promises of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, including that wonderful encouragement in Psalm 34:7, which says, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” In The Great Controversy, page 629, of the chapter on “The Time of Trouble,” we read, “The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs on their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied.” During our experience, we learned anew to be grateful for the small blessings of life and thank God for His merciful kindness to each of us. He is our Protector!
Ted N. C. Wilson
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.