I have only once been in a fog so thick I couldn't see where I was going and was terrified to move forward. Knowing fogs, you go through them fully expecting to pass through them to a place where the view is clearer. But on this night, it was an unwise decision to drive into it. My children were young, and there was an important event at their school. We lived a distance from the school, in the country, where even at about 55 miles an hour, it took 20 minutes to get there. In that distance, I was just sure we would break through the fog and find clear or at least cloudy skies. So we got into the car and off we went. However, I couldn't see the side of the road looking straight down from my seat in the car. We felt our way down the back road on which we lived, and I began to pray. Lord, keep us safe. Please, keep us safe.
When, after going about three miles out the the main highway, the fog was no less dense, I truly considered going back home. But in my mind it had to be safer a mile or two down the highway than trying to creep back to the house through that soup. So I rolled down the windows and listened for cars approaching on the highway, and cautiouslly entered the road and increased my speed to about 45 mph. Surely no one could come up on us and overtake us at that speed. My fog lights and the fact that a few cars had punched a hole through the fog earlier, made it a little easier to see the road sides and I progressed along. Anxious, never the less, and growing more so, as the fog simply was not getting any better as we traveled toward town, I grew concerned that I had made a mistake to not have gone home. Once we arrived at the school, now about 15 minutes late, I was surprised to find NO ONE ELSE WAS THERE!
I didn't want to believe I was the only one who had supposed that the fog would not be covering "the whole world." This was obviously a cancelation of the event, and if anyone else had come anyway, they had left by now. I felt alone and foolish. And now I faced driving that nightmare back all those miles in the dark, because the winter night had fallen early. Oh how I wished there was somewhere else to go besides back to where I started. So many miles of fear, and facing all those miles of risking my children's lives was not my idea of being a good parent at this point.
How, with 3 children, and so many neighbors with children in this same school, did I miss out on the cancelation message? Well, it was a time when there were no computers or cell phones. In fact it may have been a time when we didn't even have a phone. I am not sure. What's more I was not big on watching TV news or listening to local radio. It was also a place where we didn't live close to one another. I am sure families all called one another, but my only close family wasn't home. So we just missed recieving the word. What's more, I totally missed the report that we were going to be hit by a dense slow moving snow storm, arriving about dark.
As we returned home, creeping along, often unable to see the edge of the pavement, and nothing of the houses and businesses to give me an indication of how far we had traveled, I watched carefully for intersections. I finally was able to read a road sign which allowed me to know we had traveled about half the way. My fog lights made something about the fog to glisten with tiny sparkles. It was so pretty, I had to concentrate on driving. The hour long trip had made me a little weary of straining into nothingness looking for indications of where I was on the road. But then, there was a little openess in the fog, and it was merely very low clouds. What a relief, I thought until my lights came glaring back at me to blind me from reflecting off this huge white wall. My first thought was that I had left the road and was headed straight into a white concrete block wall. I had only seconds to recover from the adrenaline rush and blink twice to refocus on what I was driving right into. "What is that?" I startled the kids. I heard gasps and echos of my question from the back seat as my children became excited, and I slowed the car to a near crawl. Then out of the fog emerged a pure white wall of the biggest densest snowflakes I ever saw.
Know when you look out over a landscape in summer and see the wall of rain falling from the front of a stormcloud, and you are glad it is out there, not where you are driving? That is what this was - a wall of snow announcing the storm behind it. Just as dense rain would hamper your driving, dense snow is totally a wipeout. Imagine going from believing you were colliding with a block wall just seconds before, to colliding with a wall of snow instead. Even now it gives me a surreal feeling. That feeling of having left reality and being in a dream - where things are never what they seem and change as quickly as thought. We immediately changed everything about our environment. Although driving in the snow was challenging, possibly as dangerous as being in the fog, I suddenly could look out past the edges of the road to the houses and see porchlights. I believed we could make it home alive. It felt like something from a movie, where the characters jump through the mirror or black hole into the unknown, only we were living it.
The thing that I learned from that night, was that God is always with us, even when we make some really big errors in judgement and move forward without his guidance. When we are facing decisions in life that are important destinations but we are moving through as if in a fog - without clear guidance, sometimes, it is better to move forward slowly until God gives us a clear word of instruction. Often, it is far better to go nowhere until God clears the fog. I hope it is obvious I mean this metaphorically in reference to understanding his perfect will. If however, we have already moved forward, then realize God has closed the doors, sending us back to start again, we may face some pretty scarey situations. We may kick ourselves for not "going home" when we first understood how foggy our path really was.Sometimes we get mad at God. It is imperative to not make the destination of so great importance that we deny our circumstances and move forward, unless God tells us to. In other words, sometimes God tells us to enter the storm. If so, we can count on Him to be present every step of the way. But sometimes, he says to go another day; wait upon him to clear the fog.
I truly love morning fogs that lift off rivers and lakes. It evokes a calmness that driving in a night fog did not. Because I have assurance that as the sun warms the air, the fog dissipates. But until it does, it is a magic world, especially behind the lense of a camera. It is an everchanging world that moves forward at a rapid speed. Each moment may feel like, "I wish I could capture and hang on to this image forever." Every moment is new but fleeting. When life is moving like that, it really helps to remember that the Son of God is burning away the fog. If we are unclear on where life is going, and we remain calm in the peace of knowing who is in control, we can actually enjoy the foggy times in life. It is often said that what we don't know is what scares us most. It becomes an act of will to acknowlege that life is going to have some fog. It is therefore wise to turn on the "God radio" often enough to hear the weather forecasts on life frequently, and then let God tell us when it's safe or imperative to move forward. Waiting on the Lord to burn away the fog, can be a beautiful experience if we stop to watch the magic. I believe God enjoys painting the picture of our future stroke by stroke. We should enjoy watching him do it!
Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But all we, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord ...But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord: and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of knowlege of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the powe rmay be of God and not of us. II Corinthians 3:17, 18 & 4:3-7.
Lord I need to see your plan before I enter the fog, but if you take me into the fog and the storm and darkness, I am so thankful that you are there. If I stumble there unexpectedly, harness my fear and turn the fog into beautiful snow every time! I praise your name for the times you have sent angels to direct me through the fog. And for every time you allowed me to go to a place where I cannot clearly see with my thinking eyes, but that you gave me new understanding in that unsure place, I stand amazed that you cared for me. Do as much for my family and friends, bless them with your leadership each and every day. In Jesus Name, AMEN