While on a trip to visit a friend many years ago, 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; nebulous mist creates the illusion of solitude on an otherwise-bustling stretch of road. It turns the trees to a cohort of giants emerging from the veil and erases everything except the world a quarter-mile ahead of you. In theory, it’s pretty, calming, and ethereal.
In reality, fog is actually pretty terrible.
Driving through it for the first time was a white-knuckle experience for me. I couldn’t tell when other vehicles were coming up beside me, and some were difficult to distinguish up ahead except by a flicker of heart-stopping lights every now and again. I realized that day exactly why they delay schools and issue advisories for dense fog; it takes a lot of focus to drive safely in those 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 the word “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 push-ups couldn’t cure. Someone might’ve suggested you had brain fog. We also use that term to describe the nasty, muffle-headed feeling we get before, during, and even after a bad headcold. It’s like someone unravels your brain into floss, whips it through a cotton candy machine, and sticks it back in there all pastel and puffy, with absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. The best you can manage is a zombie-like grunt when some brave souls dares to ask how you’re feeling.
Spiritual fog is a real thing, too. Those are the times when it seems so difficult to pray, when operating the manifestations of the holy spirit is a titan effort, and 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 God; sometimes it’s less obvious, something deep inside us we need to dig out and bring to the light. No matter what the cause, though, there’s one solution to our problem.
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, thinning out, then they’re gone. No matter how thick the fog may be, as the sun climbs, it shreds the mist and the light comes through.
There’s 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. And eventually, as we keep our gaze focused on the rising sun and on the Son of God, the cloudiness will burn away.