Sometimes a photograph seems to scream at me--"pay attention"! I wouldn't say this particular photograph "screamed" but it did make me think...
Last year I was on the beach in North Carolina eager to try out a new [well, new to me] camera. I had been hoping for the opportunity to take pictures of a glorious sunset, with vivid pinks, oranges, and even bits of purple. However, the day was dull. Clouds hung close to the shore and the bits of fog seemed to have discouraged all but the most determined beach goers from roaming the shoreline. As I trudged along the beach looking for something to inspire me, I spooked a lone seagull that flew off rather than enduring my company.
I took many other pictures that day. I have erased most of them, but this one of a seabird against a blurry background speaks to me. The picture reminds me that in my walk with Jesus, some days are not easy. Oh, some days seem to sparkle with light and joy like a wonderful sparkling, spring day. Some days even remind me of dramatic summer days when dramatic storms filled with lightning and thunder appear and then quickly disappear. However, the most difficult days for me are the ones that aren't dramatic or sparkling at all, just gloomy with a bit of fog.
On such days, life seems out of focus. Sometimes, everything around me seems unclear. Decisions seems difficult to make. Focusing on the Lord is difficult; I just want to curl up with a book, take a nap, or "veg" out in front of the television and not think.
Gloomy days can be difficult. However, gloomy, uncertain, "foggy" days in my spiritual life seem so much worse. I say that I want to walk by faith and want to soar like an eagle in the spirit with the Lord over every challenge. The reality is that I dislike uncertainly; I dislike not being absolutely sure of what I am to do and how I am to do it. I prefer to think I am guaranteed to succeed in every task before I start it. I want to know the end before I begin and see the way to success.
Yet the Lord wants me to keep my eyes on Him. He allows me to face uncertainty. He guides me with a lamp that shines only a short way up the path He wants me to follow. He gives me "foggy" days when I cannot see Him clearly.
I find physical or spiritual "fog" to be disquieting, to say the least! However, these periods of "fog", however, are ultimately for my benefit: I am learning more and more that our God is utterly trustworthy. I am learning to listen to His voice, not my own.
I am learning what it means to walk by faith and not by sight alone. I am learning how to lean into the written word of God and to review previously recorded prophecies [that have been judged and reviewed by my pastor or elder] when I am confused about what choices I am to make. I am also learning the necessity of being humble enough to admit when I am confused by life's circumstances and call out to God and my spiritual elders to show me what I am to do. And--perhaps the hardest lesson--I have learned to wait patiently for the Lord to give me the clarity that I need for the situation that I am facing.
What about you? Can you see through the fog of circumstances and challenges in your own life?