It’s the Friday after Hurricane Ian did its thing in Florida. The power went off Wednesday at 6 p.m. I’ve taken the recommended precautions: plenty of drinking water, bathtubs filled with water, flashlights, batteries, etc. But the only ice I have is what was in the freezer compartment before the power went out which I transferred to a small cooler.
In my defense, in the ten years we’ve lived here, we’ve never had a power outage lasting more than a few hours. Even during Hurricane Irma, our power never went out.
My freezer is packed and supposedly I don’t have to worry unless the power outage lasts longer than 48 hours. Which will be tonight at 6 p.m. I even froze a cup of water and put a penny on top. Supposedly if the penny doesn’t sink to the bottom, your frozen food is still viable. I haven’t opened the freezer at all.
But food is expensive, and I just bought chicken breasts and hamburger patties. I have lots of frozen vegetables and fruit. Bad enough what I had to throw out from the refrigerator.
So off I go to search for ice. I know there are areas nearby that didn’t have power outages at all. I’m just not sure where they are. I choose a direction and start driving, swinging into gas stations, Family Dollar, and Dollar General parking lots. Some of them are kind enough to put up signs.
NO ICE! NO WATER!
I pray, “God, help me find ice.” Then I amend it to, “God if I’m meant to have ice, help me find it,” when I remember our prayers should be in line with God’s will.
I keep driving until I arrive at an intersection where the traffic light is out, and police are directing traffic. I get into the left-hand turn lane because that’s the way I want to go. But it’s blocked off and everyone is being forced to make a right-hand turn.
I’m slightly disgruntled at the change in my plan, but I swing through a Circle K parking lot just in case. No ice.
I hang a right even though I’m not familiar with this neighborhood. After a few blocks, I’m led to a street I recognize and now I have a plan. A few miles away I know there’s a WinnDixie shopping plaza. I’ll check there.
I walk into the WinnDixie and stop just past the checkout lines. From there I can see the entire refrigerator section is empty and blocked off. At the opposite end of the store, I see the freezer section is also blocked off. I think, “They don’t have any ice if their freezer section is shut down.”
I turn to leave when what do I see? A big sign that says, “Don’t Forget The Ice.” Below it is a freezer container with clear doors and beyond the doors are bags and bags of ice.
There’s no one in the checkout line and the customer who’s leaving in front of me gives me his cart. The cashier is happy to sell me six bags of ice. (Two are for my neighbor.)
I stop by my friend’s house to recharge my phone and borrow a cooler.
At 6 p.m., if the power is still off, I will open my freezer and if the penny’s still on top of the water, I’ll put everything in the coolers.
The power came back on at 5 p.m. The penny was where I placed it. The water still frozen.
I will file this experience under the category of “Answered Prayer.” Before the hurricane came close to us, I prayed for our house to not be damaged. It was barely touched. I prayed that I wouldn’t have to throw out all the food I had stored in my freezer. (We’d have grilled and eaten what we could, of course, or shared it with the neighbors.) And this particular day I prayed for ice.
Never doubt God is listening.
Never doubt God has a plan.
Never doubt His plan might not be the same as your plan.