Unfailing Power

Rebecca’s Story:  I know exactly what I would have thought if I lived in Montana: “We get snow all the time with frigid temperatures. Those people down South will be just fine.” When the news forecasted snow, I thought the same way. The snow would fall—maybe even stick—then melt. I mean, hey, this is Texas.

On Sunday morning, my aunt’s pantry looked meager: rice, pasta, cream of mushroom soup and a few other canned goods. The built-in fireplace in the living room served as a decorative piece, and we had no firewood. But our emergency kit held batteries and an electric lamp.

Snow flurried, then fell steadily and stayed overnight. The electric grid struggled with the demand and couldn’t keep up. On Monday, rolling blackouts began. Every three hours, the electricity rolled through, giving us a surge of hope as clocks flashed and appliances beeped. Then, it went black again. With every surge, the question hovered: When will the power really come back on?

In the late morning, the house temperature began to drop. Sunlight reflected brightly off snow and ice and streamed through the windows, but it was still below freezing outside. I wanted to play in the snow, but I had no way to warm up if I got too cold. No warm mug of hot chocolate or tea, no hot soup. Our space heaters were quiet and useless.

I became concerned about what to eat for lunch and dinner. Every satisfying meal needed cooking or heating. Lord, what will we eat? My aunt made a sandwich. I chose a can labeled “Bush’s Black Beans.” Black beans straight from the can did not sound satisfying. But can I tell you? Those cold beans brought warmth and fullness—a gift from God.

As the inside temperature continued to drop, God dropped my anxious energy. The house grew calmer.

Darkness chased the sunlight away after the sun went down. Without an electric light, I relied on two small Christmas-gift candles. Loved ones far away had unknowingly given truly perfect gifts! My aunt produced a few more candles, and the golden warmth of candlelight comforted us in the chilly darkness.

As we got ready for bed, my aunt moved around by the cold-blue light of her electric lamp. I set the flickering candles around me, wrapped myself in a blanket and began to read by candlelight, warming one hand at a time over the flame. When the book-holding hand became too cold, I switched hands.

Soon my aunt carried her lamp to bed, but I lingered. I was mesmerized as I watched each burning wick flicker, dispelling darkness around me.

Later, I snuggled into bed under a thick pile of covers. As the house temperature dropped to 54˚F, I slept deeply under warm, heavy blankets.

In the morning, blinking clocks told us our power had been restored at two am. We’d made it through!

The snow stayed a full week, lingering on the ground and roads. Montana cities may have fleets of snowplows, but our Texas town didn’t. Still, our home hummed with electric power, hot water and food, warmth and safety.

The Texas winter storm showed me my dependence on finite resources. During that day without power, I had turned on the bathroom faucet, surprised the water still ran. I had thought, “What if this fails too?” What if resources I consider dependable cease to flow? What if God suspends or removes other life-giving gifts, like my health or the love of family and friends? My awareness of life’s uncertainties has lingered long after the snow turned into water, soaked into the earth and melted off the roads.

Psalm 46:1-2 says, “God is our refuge and strength … Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Even if the very earth gives way, the Lord himself will remain, my ever-present help whose love endures forever (Psalm 136). He is my faithful Power Source who will never fail.

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