I wrote the following last summer after about 6 weeks of living in a fog that had been growing more and more dense with each passing day. I squirmed. A lot. I really wanted to know what was next. I needed to know what was next, or so I thought. The voice of truth, reason and faith (and yes, these do agree), constantly urged me to rest and trust in my Guide who has never let me down while I continued to look wide-eyed and faithless at my calendar each day, watching my 90-day mark quickly approach with no clear plans in place for where I was to go next. Everyday I heard my enemy’s voice tell me over and over,
“He has forgotten you. He doesn’t see you. He doesn’t care. He is scrambling to figure out where you should go next. He isn’t really fully in control. He hasn’t told you where to go from here because He doesn’t even know Himself…”
These may seem like obvious lies to those of you who follow Jesus and know from personal experience these things are not true of Him who knows the beginning from the end, of Him who is all-knowing and fills all of time and eternity. But lies have a funny way of sounding like the truth, especially when you hear them day after day. What a great reminder this is to me today to be all the more diligent to meditate on the truth day and night so I will not be led astray like the dumb little lamb that I am when the wolf in sheep’s clothing tries to lure me away, hissing as he whispers his cheap lies in my ear.
After I sat down and wrote this, I e-mailed it to about a dozen close friends, mentors and family members as a means of sharing with them a little of what I was going through, knowing they were and would continue to pray for me. Within 48 hours, the fog began to lift. I heard back from almost everyone I sent it to. Most of them went on to share it with friends or family members who were also going through a dense patch of fog or as a means of expressing to their own loved-ones what they themselves had or were currently going through. Since I returned to California a month ago, several more have mentioned that they too have shared it with others and how well they were able to identify with this. With this in mind, I share it with you here in the hopes that you too will be encouraged.
27 June, 2013
Fog can be a great many things: beautiful, quiet, dangerous, serene, annoying, cool, uncomfortable, eerie, mysterious…
Sometimes it is very much like a cool blanket, offering relief from the heat of the day. Most summer nights in the San Francisco Bay Area where I am from, it moves in swiftly but stealthily, rolling in over the coastline during the early evenings where it settles in for the night. It often lingers into the morning when the sun gradually burns it off and pushes it back out to the ocean from whence it came.
In other places, like the Visalia area of California’s Central Valley, it can be a great danger. Often the fog is so thick it forces drivers to slow down, turn on their lights mid-day and be extra attentive to the road or else chance a severe accident.
Personally, I am tired of the fog. I feel I have been walking in a dense patch for most of the last month. At this point, I can’t see two inches in front of me and have often been tempted to think I am lost and my Guide has forgotten me. I sometimes think I hear an unfriendly voice try to convince me the One who has brought me thus far, can’t see any farther than I can. But in the depths of my heart, like an anchor for my soul, lies the truth; I know He is here by my side. And He never loses the way, no matter how dense the fog.
All I want is faith, faith that is strong and growing stronger everyday. Faith to see with my heart what I can’t see with my eyes. Faith to know with unshakeable confidence my Guide, the Lover of my soul, is by my side and always will be. He knows the way and how to get me safely where we are going. He is bigger and stronger than anything we may encounter and nothing is a surprise to Him.
I am tired of the fog. I can’t see the road, the surroundings, the sky. Nothing. Nothing but my right hand holding on tight to the hand of my Guide. At times it seems even His face has been hidden from my sight by the fog but when my heart cries out for Him to draw nearer, I feel Him squeeze my hand and hear Him whisper reassuring words to my heart; He hasn’t left my side, and never will. How patient He is with me when I so often cry out for this reminder! Especially when He has never given me reason to doubt His faithfulness.
I don’t know the way but I am not lost. My Guide never makes mistakes. This fog is not an accident nor is it due to a wrong decision on my part. I make many plans for myself but my Guide determines my every step. He has purpose for leading me through this. When there is no fog, I can easily get caught up in looking around at everything else. I catch myself squinting at the horizon trying to catch a glimpse of what is ahead or straining my neck to look back at what is fading in the distance behind us rather than focusing on the One by my side who is my one true source of life, joy, peace and strength.
I am tired of the fog but I am grateful for it too. It’s helping me refocus. It is an answer to prayer as it is building my feeble faith-muscle I desperately want to see grow big and strong. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” My “flesh” so violently wants a break from this place of darkness, a quick lifting of the fog, long enough for me to get a peek at my surroundings and especially of what is right in front of me but I know a break will not maximize the purpose of this exercise, the building of my faith.
“Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” Don’t listen to me when I cry out for a break! Instead, give me a fresh measure of Your strength to see me through. I don’t want to quit and miss out on the joy of finishing the race with You. Carry me if You must, just don’t let me give up or give in to anything or anyone but You!
I am tired of the fog. I want to see the sun again and feel it’s warmth. I want to see the path and to know which direction we are headed. I know someday soon the fog will lift, maybe gradually, maybe all at once, but I know it will not stay forever. I will be able to look back and see where we have traveled, how far we have come and all the fog was hiding as we passed through it. Perhaps the trail has been so narrow at times, the daunting cliffs on either side would have stirred my heart to fear and my feet to slip but the fog has hidden the edge from view and kept my knees and heart steady. I am sure whatever the fog is hiding needed to be hidden from my sight as I walked by.
I am tired of the fog but I know it will lift soon. And when it does, I know the view will be glorious.
For a little more context, check out the ripe banana story: Blessed Assurance in the Form of a Vespa Ride. The vespa incident took place about a week prior to when the fog began to lift and was just the reminder I needed to know I had not been forgotten or overlooked.
Should you find yourself in a place where God seems to have forgotten or abandoned you, know He is nearer to you than the breath in your lungs. As A.W. Tozer puts it:
“We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God.
He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.”
Read this personal story if you aren’t convinced this is true.