While on a trip to visit a friend recently, I had my first encounter with driving through fog. It’s amazing how different the world feels when it’s wrapped in that damp gray shawl; it can create the illusion of solitude on an actually-bustling stretch of road. It turns the trees to giants emerging from the veil. It erases everything except the world a quarter-mile ahead of you.
In theory, it’s pretty. Fog actually sucks.
Driving through it was a white-knuckled experience for me. I couldn’t tell when other vehicles were coming up beside me, and some were difficult to distinguish up ahead. There’s a reason they delay schools and issue advisories for dense fog. It takes a lot of focus to make it through a driving stint in such conditions. And it got me thinking (once I was actually out of the fog and could focus on something other than “Please God please God let that giant Silverado on my tail actually see me”) how fog is so colloquially used nowadays.
Think back to the last time you just couldn’t get your day off the ground. You walked around in a haze that six cups of coffee and a set of jumping jacks couldn’t cure. Someone might’ve told you that you had brain fog. We also use that term liberally of that nasty, muzzy-headed feeling we get before, during, and even for a while after a bad headcold. It’s like someone unravels your brain into candy floss, whips it through a cotton candy machine, and sticks it back in there all pastel, puffy, and with absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. The best you can manage is a zombie-like grunt when asked how you’re faring.
Spiritual fog can happen to us, too. Those are the times when it seems so difficult to pray, when operating the manifestations of the holy spirit is a titan effort. If asked to give some spiritual advice, we crack our jaws, let out a pitiful moan, and shuffle away. Sometimes the reason for this fog is evident—the cold condensation of stress, fear, worry, or sin that keeps our focus off of God; sometimes it’s less obvious. No matter what the cause, though, the solution is the same.
Have you ever seen fog burn off under sunlight? It’s a real sight to behold. Pockets of thick mist like clouds cupped in low-lying places slowly turn to tufts, vanishing, gone. No matter how thick the fog may be, as the sun climbs, it shreds the mist and the light comes through.
There is a similar biblical principle expressed by the Psalmist in Psalm 119:130: “The revelation of Your words brings light.” Even when the spiritual fog is thick in our lives, the rising of the sun—the words of life—and of The Son—the bringer of all light—can strip away the pall and restore depth and clarity to our senses. When we pray, appeal to God, and strive for the light, we will find it. We just have to keep on driving no matter the density of the fog.
Eventually, as we keep our gaze focused on the rising sun, the darkness burns away. No caffeine or jumping jacks required!