"We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)
I drive my son to school every morning. Yesterday morning, as we started down the descent of one of the road's largest hills, the valley was covered in fog. The sky was an iron gray color with thick clouds blocking the sun. It was the picture of gloom to me. I turned on my van's headlights as we descended into the misty vapors covering the road which prevented the ability to see much farther than the car's tail lights ahead of me.
Ladies, there are some days when my soul's condition is just like that road covered with fog--gloomy, sad, and feeling hopeless. The color of my thoughts is iron gray instead of the cheerful brightness of the sunshine that is hidden and which I long for. When those days come, I always have a choice in what I am going to believe. Is my God with me or not?
I love so many of the Psalms because they are so real--because the various authors seem to somehow have gotten inside my head to say what I cannot even articulate. I have come to love the psalms of a worship leader named Asaph who wrote so many of my favorite ones. Asaph is the real deal. A real man with real questions and doubts like he expresses in the following psalm:
I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands
and my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
I mused, and my spirit grew faint.
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart mused and my spirit inquired:
7 "Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"
10 Then I thought, "To this I will appeal:
the years of the right hand of the Most High."
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.
13 Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
My sweet sisters, what do we base our relationship with God on? If we are not feeling His presence, if the sky turns gray and the sun doesn't shine for a time, do we believe that He is not with us? I love that Asaph, the author of the 77th psalm was so gut-wrenchingly honest with his emotions. What I love even more is that God never questions His own motives, His judgments, or His plan for our lives, even when we don't see what He's doing. And He is gracious enough to have inspired His Word to us through the pen of ordinary men who wrestled with tremendous doubt over His goodness, His faithfulness, and His love for them. God openly invites the questions that we have about Him in the pages of Scripture.
I have driven the road enough times to know that the fog on the road will most likely dissipate within the span of fifteen minutes as I return home the same way I came. Even on the darkest day, when the storm clouds hide the sun, I know that the sun is still shining. The clouds will eventually break, and the light will stream from the heavens again. I am convinced of this because I have experienced this in the past over and over again.
So why do feel discouraged? Why is my soul so downcast within me? Asaph wrestled with God through the first nine verses of Psalm 77, but then he decided to do something critically important to gain perspective on his current situation: he remembered the deeds of the Lord and the miracles that He had done in Asaph's life.
Where were you when you first heard God calling your name? Maybe, like me, you accepted His gift of salvation when you were little, before the storm clouds formed. Or maybe you were right in the thunder, wind, and fury of the storm when you reached out to take the hand He offered you. I was thirty before I decided to go full throttle with Him, to abandon my old way of life, void of His power to heal my broken places. My dear sister, if life is a fog today, remember what He has rescued you from! Remember His power, His miraculous healing, His boundless love that made you trust Him. He is still there. He is not worried one iota about how He will rescue you again. The fog will not last when we praise Him in the middle of it.
The choice is yours and mine today. Are we going to be women who only see our Jesus when the sun is shining brightly in front of us, when life is full, and our bank account is sufficient? Or are we going to choose to believe that we are called to walk by faith and not by sight? When the mortgage can't be paid any way that we can see, when food cannot be found or obtained, when our health or the health of someone we love is in jeopardy, when our children have legitimate needs like schooling or clothes and our resources are impossibly low, we need to remember Who calls that sun to shine in the sky every morning. We belong to the Almighty One, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. There is no lack in His understanding. No one has ever been His counselor. He is as much on the throne in the fog as He has ever been when the sun's brilliance is streaming in our souls.
How do we dissipate the fog in our lives? We praise Him for what He has done in the past. We encourage our hearts with lips that say out loud the miracles that He has done for us. We praise Him for what He is going to do. We tell Him that we believe that He is faithful, loving, and just in all His ways, even when we can't see to take our next step. He lives in our praises. Nothing moves Him more than a praise fest from our mouths. Let's do it. Let's make the choice and watch the fog evaporate into thin air.
Jesus, give me perspective that I just do not humanly have. The foggy mist clouds my vision and lies to me that You have abandoned me. Instead of the fog frightening me, may I rejoice in how You are going to lift it. Help me in my unbelief! You have never, not one time, failed me yet. You will never leave me or forsake me, no matter what my circumstances may scream at me to believe otherwise. You are my Strong Tower. May I run to You and be safe within the shelter of Your everlasting arms.