Straining to See in the Fog

The fog rolled in overnight. Swirling mists billowed from the clouds like smoke from a wildfire until all was consumed. No light could pierce it. No sound echoed through it. Looking outside, there was only a gray and murky haze. I told my boys goodbye and sent them out to the bus stop. Before they reached the end of the driveway their dark figures were engulfed. Try as I might, I couldn’t see them. The fog had swallowed them up. Yet still, I waited and watched. I strained my eyes toward the end of our cul-de-sac, somehow thinking that the force of my will would be enough to pierce the seemingly solid, yet strangely fluid atmospheric condition outside. Minutes passed. And there it was, a shift in the darkness. Through the fog, a glimpse of pale yellow. The beams of the headlights that signaled the arrival of the school bus. And in that pale light, I caught the shadow of two dark shapes…my boys making their way onto the bus. With a contented heart, I turned away from the darkness outside and went about my morning, secure in the knowledge that my children had made it safely through the fog even when I couldn’t see them.

Lately, the world seems to be shrouded in a deep fog. It’s hard to see the hope when everything seems to be falling apart. Like many of you, I was completely untethered by the events at the U.S. Capitol the week before last. It was shocking and frightening and saddening all at the same time. Compound that with the unrelenting pandemic and continued instances of racial injustice and it seems like there is no right answer, no good course of action, and no discernible landmark for us to grab onto and orient ourselves around. Of course, it’s not just national tragedies that lead to these moments of darkness. We can experience this crisis of vision when we get an unexpected medical diagnosis, when we lose a loved one, when a relationship ends, when our finances get upended. Honestly, the list could go on and on. The point is, we all walk through darkness. Jesus was very clear about this in the Gospel of John. He told his disciples, point blank, you’re going to experience hard times. It’s going to be difficult, and you’ll feel lost in the darkness. (John 15:18-22). Fortunately, that is not the end of the story, for while we have moments where everything seems lost, Jesus promises that he is the light that will guide us through. While our own little lights struggle to pierce through the fog, God’s light, like the light from the school bus headlights, can make a way. If we’re looking, God’s light will appear, and his light is enough to help us navigate through mist that presses in on all sides.

It sounds trite, but it’s so profound. God brings light, and it is the promise of this light that fuels our hope. As Paul writes, we hope for something we have yet to see, but that we KNOW is coming because we KNOW the One who will bring it. And so, as I patiently waited and strained through the darkness as my boys disappeared into the mist, so we, as Jesus followers, patiently wait and strain though the darkness of pandemic, civil discord, injustice, and emotional exhaustion to see God’s light. And where, you might ask, are we supposed to be looking? Start with Scripture. Remind yourself of all the promises God has already fulfilled. Pray. Pray for God to open your eyes to his light, to give you the ability to see where he is shining in the darkness. Then go out into the darkness, carrying your light that has been lit by the flame of God and join it with the beautiful lanterns God has placed in the hands of others. See where God is working and join him to make a difference. Look for the light. Wait for the light. Carry the light. This is our charge. This is our mandate from Heaven. So get your lamp ready, because the light will come.

Blessings and Peace,