“The plans of the Lord stand firm forever”

Tuesday was orientation day if you weren’t in West Texas long.

As we were leaving the house around 11 a.m., I glanced at the car’s information center. The outside temperature was cold 32 degrees. I thought the weather forecaster on TV said we would see close to 60 degrees for the afternoon.

It didn’t really matter what I thought. I’ve lived here all my life and know how quickly the weather can change.

He stayed on the “32” all the way to Plainview, where we were heading to pick up the document everyone hates preparing – income tax papers.

The sun was shining brightly and I wondered as we pulled into the parking lot, “maybe the car’s thermometer isn’t correct”.

When I opened the car door, I quickly realized that it was working very well. Despite the illusion of warmth from the bright sun, the cold breeze was immediately convincing. Nothing like a northerly wind on the plains of Texas to defy the heat of the sun. You can’t always believe what you see!

A few hours later, after lunch and a trip to the grocery store prompted by possible freezing weather, the thermometer still reads 32 degrees. But without wind, Sun had pleasantly warmed the interior of the vehicle.

About six miles east of Plainview the number changed, warming as we got closer to Floydada. If I remember correctly, at the time we were in the house the indoor/outdoor thermometer was slowly warming up even though we were told we would be in single digit temperatures overnight. I think the afternoon high was 48.4, and still 32 at Plainview.

Now, by the time you get the Saturday paper, we hope we’ve warmed up nicely. We hope no ice storm surprises us to rival last year’s power losses and massive damage to trees from a thick layer of ice. Trees are rare here.

We live in an area where the weather is constantly changing. Indigenous people were migratory because of this changing weather. They knew well that their existence depended on the changing seasons of nature and adapted by wintering elsewhere or sheltering in a canyon with buffalo hides for cover.

Then came the European influx of people, disrupting a way of life, choosing a different, more proactive mode of adaptation. In essence, it is the world history of mankind. Compare the changes in the way we live today with those who settled in this often inhospitable land, and be grateful for their faith, courage and sense of responsibility to one another.

A line from Walt McDonald’s poem “Estacado” illustrates the source of strength of our pioneer people: “In 1880 the great-grandmother raised eight children on the plains she called the plateau of heaven…The only milk flowed here in the cow attached to their cart, their only honey, words in a book.

It comes from Walt’s book “Whatever the Wind Delivers”, celebrating West Texas and the near Southwest. The book he cites in the poem is the Bible, brought by Quaker settlers as they settled in this vast prairie.

They believed with the psalmist: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their host starred by the breath of his mouth. … let all the peoples of the world venerate him… The Lord foils the plans of the nations, he thwarts the designs of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord remain firm forever, the designs of his heart through all the generations… We wait for the Lord with hope; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name…” (excerpts from Psalm 33, NIV)

May the tribe of the faithful revive and grow to resist the so-called tyrants of our time. It won’t be easy, but then, discernment is never easy in the midst of the battle between good and evil.

Beth Pratt retired after 25 years as the religious editor of the Avalanche-Journal.

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