I’m lucky really. Incredibly blessed. Each morning between 6:30 and 7:00 AM while the sun slowly stakes its claim on the day, I have the privilege of driving 10 minutes to work. More specifically, I get to drive 10 minutes down Seawall when traffic is at a minimum and my eyes are filled with the sun’s good morning reflecting on the ocean. Nature’s mirror bouncing back nothing but complete and total beauty while I sit there wishing I could blink and take a picture with my eyes to last forever. On those morning drives, everything is so clear, inviting, peaceful, joyful and beautiful.
And then days like the other day happen. I drove down Seawall just as I do every morning but this time I was greeted by nothing but fog. Not the sort of fog you know will lift at any moment, but the kind of fog that drowns your vision and gives you an uneasy, panicked feeling because you’re driving completely and totally blind. The fog was so thick that if it weren’t for the headlights on each car, they would have been completely unseen and still were until they were 2 feet in front of you. So thick that the color of each traffic light remained a mystery until you were either slamming on your breaks as you hit an ‘out of nowhere’ red or taking a deep breathe as you hit a green, knowing without a doubt you could safely proceed. That morning I couldn’t find the clarity, the peaceful invitation or joyful beauty. All I found was that I could finally relax when I had reached my destination, all worry and loss of sight finally tucked away.
Many mornings like that followed and I quickly realized I had found myself in a season of fog just like those around me. Come sit in our C Group on Tuesday nights and so many of our conversations and prayer requests lately have been that of fog and I can tell you right now that for so many of us, the fog is blinding until we’ve finally reached the red or green light right in front of us. With a group filled with 4th year med students, college seniors and those already working but still unsure of what’s coming, tomorrow and even today look a lot like the great unknown. We all have an idea of where we would like to be, what we would like to be doing and with who but there is never a guarantee any of those things will become more than just our wishes. So each week we sit and pray, ask for guidance, listen to the wisdom God has instilled in those around us and wait for the green or red light in our season of fog in faith that it will come.
Proverbs 16:9 – “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
It’s a universal rule that you’re supposed to turn your fog lights on when you’re driving along and it’s foggy outside. Not just so you are able to better see where you are going and everything around you but so the cars around you are able to see you as well. Much of the time I think we drive through fog without light. We depend on our own knowledge of the road or don’t understand the purpose and so we accept driving blind and hope we’ll make it there in one piece. In our season of fog we continue to ask what, why, who and when but bypass the light; bypass the answers we have already been given. Psalms 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” Not only is Christ there to be our light in that season but He has provided a tool for us filled with His kept promises, plans, purpose for us and so much more. He just asks that we have faith.
Hebrews 11:8 – “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
James 4:14-15 – “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.””
The truth is that we are all always in a season of fog, even if we don’t quite realize it. The truth is that you have no idea what could happen tomorrow. Maybe on a typical day you work 8-5, go home to your family and eat dinner, spend some time together, go to bed and do it again tomorrow. Maybe it’s been that way for 10-15 years. I’ll say it again, you have no idea what could happen tomorrow. Two friends of mine knew they were being moved for work and had to rank a list of places they were given for placement in the order of their choice. A couple of months after putting the list together they found out they were being placed in a state that hadn’t even been an option on the list that was given to them to rank. You have no idea what could happen tomorrow and you never will. Truthfully, I couldn’t be more thankful for God’s promises and the fact that they will never be broken. I couldn’t be more thankful for the fact that no matter what’s next, God is already there. Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
I’d be lying if I said I always found a great sense of peace in knowing God already has it figured out. There have been moments I’ve received a red light when I so badly wanted a green and I know the truth and everyone has reminded me in those moments that God has something different and better planned and it wasn’t at all comforting. I wasn’t angry about the red light but I wanted to understand the reasoning. To be honest I’ve received more red than green lights in the past couple of years when trying to follow the things I wanted, while watching those around me hit green, and it hasn’t felt great but only because I was making it about me. When you allow the fog to sit there surrounded by the dark and refuse to let in light because you become so consumed with what you wanted and what you thought was right all you discover is bitterness and jealousy. At every red light Satan will use your past and what the world says about you to make you want to jump out of the car.
Recently I stumbled upon a split road and the path I wanted to follow in the fog held a red light while the one laced with everything I fear stayed green. And yet He has not given us a spirit of fear. He calls us out of our comfort zone to stretch us, grow us, teach us and so He can use us in even bigger ways than we can imagine. Can I be quite honest? I’m afraid of what’s next and it brings tears to my eyes each time I think about it. Not because I didn’t get my way, that’s not it at all. But because I’m about to have to face every hurt I’ve ever been through and every hurt I’ve caused. No filter, no spellcheck, no photoshop or other special edits and I know without a doubt God is going to use this coming season to show me what completely depending on Him really looks and feels like.
Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.”
More often than we realize, we are headed toward what’s uncomfortable and we ask God, why? I know this much to be true, when I look ahead I may not know where I’m going, but when I look behind I would never change where I’ve been. Do you want to know the real reason we’re scared of the fog? Because we’re afraid when things finally clear, we aren’t going to like where we’re at. We’re afraid once we can see, we are going to reach a red light where we wanted a green or find that we are on a different path than we had wanted to be on or intended to be on. I fell into that trap. I felt disappointed because I was leaning on Satan’s lies and the world’s definition of success despite how firmly I claim to stand against it. What God wanted for me wasn’t even close to what I wanted. Yet I sit here today realizing how thankful I am for that.
“God does some of his best work in some of the most disappointing moments in life…Just because you’re disappointed today doesn’t mean you won’t be rejoicing tomorrow.” – Timothy Ateek
Each night since my roommate got a kitten, I’ve watched my dog sit by my bedroom door waiting eagerly for it to open so she can play with the kitten. The only problem with that is that its bedtime and the door won’t be opening. And still she waits each and every night and I sit laughing at her for being so ridiculous. I love my dog but I have to admit I don’t want to be like her, sitting at a closed door hoping it will open at some point. I want to find joy where I’m at right now, in what I can see. We tend to focus so much on the future that we forget to look at everything He has done and is doing currently. As a result of that, we wear thanklessness around like a thick shirt.
Isaiah 42:10-16 – “Sing to the Lord a new song, Sing His praise from the end of the earth! You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it. You islands, and those who dwell on them. Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voices, the settlements where Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing aloud, let them shout for joy from the tops of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord and declare His praise in the coastlands. The Lord will go forth like a warrior. He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies. I have kept silent for a long time. I have kept still and restrained Myself. Now like a woman in labor I will groan, I will both gasp and pant. “I will lay waste the mounts and hills and wither all their vegetation; I will make the rivers into coastlands and dry up the ponds. I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. There are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.”
Stop focusing on your red light and focus on His green. He’ll never take you to a place He can’t use you and if you’ve run a few red lights, you’re never too far down a different path for Him to carve a new one that leads you to Him.