It looked likely to become a dark and stormy night. Suntanned and a bit tired from the day’s outing in the mountains, our family felt cheerful as we drove through the valley, trying to beat the impending bad weather to our cabin. Our chances of that began to look bleak. As Murphy’s Law would predict, anything that could go wrong did.
We had started up the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains when we realized we’d forgotten to get gas. We turned around for the town we had passed through a few miles back, understanding that we were losing time against the rolling clouds. At the gas station it was not only fuel, but a restroom that was needed. With a family of six, that takes a bit.
After the quickest possible stop for fuel, we once again headed up the two-lane road over the mountains. Dusk was coming quickly for us on the unfamiliar winding highway. About ten minutes into the climb we drove into a wall of cloud. Not just a gentle lowland fog like we were used to, but an honest-to-goodness, totally opaque cloud. Immediately, we had to slow down. Headlights couldn’t penetrate the fog bank; in fact, they made visibility worse as our headlights reflected back off the water droplets of the fog.
We were traveling in a rather new vehicle and had no clue how to turn on the fog lights. After creeping along a quarter of a mile or so, we caught a glimpse of a sign for a scenic pull-off. Cautiously wrangling the car into the pull-off, we parked and grabbed the User’s Manual to figure out the fog lights.
We managed to get them on and pulled back onto the road hoping the fog was temporary and would have abated some. But no, if anything it was getting more dense. Even with the fog lights to help visibility, I had to slow down to 5-10 miles per hour. My husband, concerned about a low shoulder or drop off, rolled down his window and stuck his head out to make sure I was within the line marking the edge of the pavement.
It was a tense period of time. The kids were hushed in the back seat sensing our tension. I had a white knuckle grip on the wheel, and my husband spoke only as necessary to give me driving warnings or encouragement as we crept higher into the mountain fog. Some relief came as we felt ourselves top the mountain and begin our descent into the valley on the other side.
Although it seemed like hours of creeping through the fog, in reality it was probably thirty minutes or less until we broke out of the fog when we were several hundred feet down the other side. As suddenly as it had come the fog was gone. The tension in the car broke with exhaled breaths, and a bit of lighthearted chatter picked back up.
Why do I tell this long story? I’m glad you asked.
In life we may be cruising along having a happy time – then suddenly, we are hit with the unexpected. It often feels quite like my trip through that fog bank.
- It interrupts our plans.
- We can’t see through the problem, and find ourselves anxious or fearful about the trek we are on.
- We try everything we know to do, but nothing gets us out of the situation, be it a health, relational, financial or another type situation.
- We find we are NOT in control. We are forced to trust – trust ourselves, trust God, trust the procedures or advice from the experts (the Owner’s manual).
- We must wait. And waiting is not the strong suit for most of us. But patience is a fruit of the spirit.
Our only recourse in those foggy life adventures, is to do what we know to do. That includes:
- dig in the Word
- seek godly wisdom from others who have gone through the situation
- wait in faith for God to bring us through the murky mess
- turn loose of control
As you face your next crisis, storm, or trial, remember these steps, and the following verses. The Father will guide you through your fog bank.
Isaiah 64:4 – Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
Psalm 139:1-5 – You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Genesis 50:19-20 – But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Romans 8:28 & 32 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. … 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?