Fog. If you have ever needed to drive in fog you are aware of how stressful and disorienting everything is. Even if it is a road that you know, you may be uncertain of exactly where you are. The things you usually see as guides are hidden and you can become confused and doubt where you are on the road.
I have driven long enough to have experienced this more than once, but one incident stands out above the rest even though it happened quite a few years ago. At the time I was living at home while doing student teaching in our local school district but needed to drive to my university campus one night a week for a course that was related to the student teaching. It was a trek of more than 40 miles that took me a good 50 minutes when the weather was good, and construction was not happening.
On this particular night the issue that faced me was fog and it worsened on my way home in the dark that night. I knew the road well and was driving slowly with lights on dimmer beams as I had been taught, but the closer I got to home the denser the fog became until I could no longer be sure of where I was on the road or what was on either side of the pavement. I chose to do something risky and stopped and got out of the car for a moment to ascertain the center line and where the road’s edge was. Then got back to the business of creeping along until I finally made it safely home wrenched with a stressed mind and body from the tension of the trip.
There are technically different types of fog and meteorologists can tell us all about how it forms and the conditions that bring it about, but they cannot prevent it and we need to deal with it and sometimes navigate through it. It can cause us (like me) to doubt where I am or if I can even get to my destination. Those are real tangible realities we face, but there are other types of fog that can occur as well. Warriors will tell you there is often a fog that settles over a battlefield from smoke that has filled the air and sky from the weapons firing constantly or gases deployed as weapons. It can be difficult to be certain whether you can identify a person as a fellow soldier or an enemy in such times. It can result in either firing or failing to fire your weapon despite your training. You doubt yourself and hesitate. Life can be that way when we are not in the midst of a weather event or a physical battlefield as well. You can become lost even in a place you were sure you knew the terrain.
As darkness grows upon the earth we long for truth and the brightness of the day to navigate but the fog descending with the darkness disorients us and can result in doubt even before fear moves in. Many things come into play. One is that truth is obscured by the scene that the enemy seeks to set before us with words that once sounded good or right but we learn they were not and merely a script meant to deceive us and discourage our hearts from staying on the path we thought we knew. Voices come from every direction both outside of us and within our heads and doubt grows a bit more. We no longer are sure of who we can believe because some we have trusted betrayed our trust. This “fog” appears to be happening on big and small stages around us. It nudges us to trust anyone who seems to know the way.
“If Truth is taken away from us, then Right and Wrong are taken from us as well. If we don’t know Right and Wrong, then we can’t, we won’t control ourselves, but will look to someone else to bring order through brute force and raw power. We will be controlled by a tyrant, and we will no longer be free.”Frank Peretti
Frank Peretti’s words offer wise counsel. They also remind us of key things we need to navigate the foggy darkness. First, we must immerse ourselves in the truth. That doesn’t come from any source other than the One who is truth. The more we immerse ourselves in what He has told us and the guidance He has offered, the less likely we will be to believe lies and half-truths that stalk us. Those things are meant to deceive us and increase doubt. Too often we have been lazier than we ought to be and counted on others outside of us to provide that truth and remind us of Him. We all need others, but it can never imply we are not to take responsibility to be sure the truth is planted deeply within us. Jesus shows us a perfect example when He was tempted in the wilderness and the enemy quoted scripture in partial and inaccurate context.
Secondly, we must not miss that the desire for someone to show the way is part of the human nature that the enemy would seek to exploit. He wants us to trust in man more than God so that he can deceive us with a man pretending to be God. That truth is something we dare not miss. As everything becomes more chaotic, the longing for someone to save us increases. That causes some to seek Truth and others to seek anyone who “appears” to know a way out of the mess. We must not be deceived.
“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So, keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.”1 Peter 5:8 (MSG)
“The depth of a person’s character is not measured by his or her physical strength, but by the depth of his or her nobility.”Frank Peretti