Today’s quiet time at my favourite spot lacked the view. Thickening fog obscured the beautiful vista that normally soothes my soul.
As I am prone to do, I immediately saw the analogy between the fog and where many of us can find ourselves.
I know the sea is still there – I can hear it even if I can’t see it. I know the horizon is there somewhere. The sky. Ships. Intellectually, I know they are there even though my direct experience – what my senses are telling me – suggests they aren’t.
I’m sure you see the parallel. As Christians, especially if we read the Scriptures or listen to Biblical teaching, know the Truth. I know God loves me. I know I have value. I know He has good plans for me. I know nothing can separate me from His love. I know He can work all things together for my good if I allow Him. I know He will never leave me nor forsake me.
Sometimes though, my “direct experience” doesn’t match what I know. Sometimes I feel alone. Sometimes there seems to be no hope. Sometimes it seems He isn’t listening. Sometimes He doesn’t even seem to be there. Sometimes I’m scared.
If you find yourself in that place, remember the fog. Remember that it isn’t sensible to only trust what you can see. To place experience over knowledge. Circumstance over Scripture.
If you were out walking and the fog came in, what would you do?
Maybe you would stay still. Stay where you know you are – where you knew you were before the fog came – and wait for it to pass.
Perhaps you are the sort of person who would get out their phone (let’s assume you had signal!) and rely on the map, the blinking dot, to tell you where you are and show you how to get where you want to be.
Perhaps you have no phone (or no signal!) and instead decide to trust in instinct and common sense. Find a road, find the edge of the field, the shoreline. Find a feature and follow it, knowing all roads lead somewhere and sooner or later you will come to a road sign.
Those are all good options for us when the fog of circumstances or our feelings cloud our trust in God’s Truth.
Stay where you are. Rest. Remember it was ok before and it will be again. This too shall pass.
Take out your Bible. See what it says about where you are and where you are going and rely on what it says instead of what you see.
Find a truth you do still believe, that you can still see, and follow it. Stay with it. Keep confessing and clinging to it until the fog clears and you can see more of the Truth.
One other part of the analogy from today’s fog… The longer I sat in the car the less vision I had. Not just because the fog thickened but because the water condensed on to the window screen and obscured my vision.
When I turned the ignition on and used the windscreen wipers to clear the screen I saw that actually the fog wasn’t as bad as I thought! The lack of vision came from where I was positioned…..
Do I need to spell it out?
Sometimes where we are is what is causing us to doubt, to fail to trust in God’s Word. That relationship. That attitude. The influence of that friend. The TV show you watch. The book you are reading. The music you listen to. That wrong teaching.
Find a friend you trust, someone you know walks closely with God, and get them to be your windscreen wiper. Ask them to pray and seek God for what is blocking your vision or, if you suspect you know the answer, deal with it.
Move from where you are currently positioned and see if your vision clears. Take a break. Go for a walk. Take an afternoon off. Sit in the prayer room. Have a holiday. Go visit someone. Anything to break the position you are in.
If you wake up feeling down and sit around all day on the sofa watching daytime TV, by the end of the day you will feel more tired, more sluggish, greyer, than if you’d got out of the house and gone for a walk or done some gardening… Where you are will affect how you feel and therefore what you can “see”.
Remember I write these words as someone who has been in all those positions, battled mental health issues, fought clinical depression, fought spiritual fatigue, been to the depths of emotions, the edge of sanity… I’ve been there and back.
If you are struggling in a place where you can identify with what I have described, I pray this post has at least wiped the windscreen for you and given you a moment where things are a little clearer. If so, please grab that moment and use that clarity to reposition yourself.