Driving early one morning through the Georgia foothills, it was evident this would not be a sight-seeing trip. The heavy fog enveloped us so that only the immediate road and signage was visible.
Watching for the correct numbered exit was the primary focus, even as the lack of scenic surroundings and need to drive more slowly made the distance between exits seem longer than usual.
Without opportunity to see and appreciate the green hills and waterways, we concentrated on the highway and the traffic. Eventually as the morning wore on, the fog began to dissipate and our visibility increased.
Finding Your Way in the Fog
The fog in the natural world parallels this kind of haziness in our life or ministry path.
Many, many believers feel they are in a time of “foggy maneuvering”, often referred to as “transition”. Not only is there metaphorical fog in life at times, but also much uncertainty on how to proceed. In such times, our point of departure may have been very clear at the time we left a place, environment, position, method, but the path to the next destination, or even what that place is, is very murky!
A new day is often accompanied by fog.
Just like that early morning in the Georgia foothills, this fog is temporary. Eventually your path will become clear. You could possibly sit and wait, and in most situations, it will lift after a time. The actual distance to the next point will still need to be crossed, so sitting and waiting may not be the best option.
Wisdom requires that when beginning to move forward in fog, to slow down. Your next step may only be a small one, and it may not take you far, but it is a step in the right direction. Have you said, “All I know to do right now is…”? Actually, that is exactly what you need to do.
Taking that next step is a combination of faith and the previous disciplines you have learned.
A man of God once described to me a bout of depression, burnout, and discouragement he went through. “All I knew to do was to keep my daily discipline of reading the Word and prayer, as lifeless as it seemed at the time. I didn’t increase the time I was accustomed to spending in devotions. I didn’t do much else during those days. Then one day, I woke up and I was better.”
Wow. So much for all the usual lists of “5 Steps to Your Breakthrough”.
Slowing down for you will not be the same as it is for other people. But slowing down will mean to be cautious and not rush headlong into something new. It requires learning timing.
Slowing down calls for reflection, review, or perhaps calling a coach to help process what is happening. At a slower pace, your priorities may become reordered or clarified. It may be a time of “returning to your first love”, or a change in perspective, roles, or function.
God is after something during this time. It is up to you to understand what that is. And in my experience, He is never doing just one thing at a time. Hindsight often reveals additional insight.
The Issue of Faith
If faith is believing in what you cannot see, this is necessary for foggy maneuvering. A demand is placed on your confidence in Who the Lord is and what He has promised. Consider:
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
~ Ps 119:105
Notice it is a lamp, not a floodlight. A lamp, like a small flashlight or candle, only lights a small area– just enough to see where to step next. That is all that is needed at the moment, although we may prefer a much greater light.
Ever notice how walking by faith means you don’t get all the immediate answers you want?
When you take the first step, the next step is illuminated. Eventually, you arrive at the destination.
“His word” may be a verse of Scripture, or it may very well be the leading of Holy Spirit speaking to your spirit. (Of course, such direction will not conflict with the written Word.)
An old hymn from my childhood begins, “Savior, like a shepherd, lead us.” It is time to stop singing and praying for leading, but to start believing your prayer was heard, and that the Lord wants to lead you even more than you want Him to! He may lead you to go very slowly for a time. Some terrains cannot safely be navigated speedily.
Faith trusts that your Shepherd knows what He is doing in your life and is leading you, as you choose to look to Him and not go astray.
Finding the Exit
While maneuvering the fog,you will quite naturally be waiting for the exit sign to appear. It may seem to have been a long wait, but if you have remained on the path of doing what you know to do, you will come across it. You will likely even come across hints and suggestions that you are getting closer. The Lord is most merciful to give encouragement when we need it.
When the indication for the exit comes, it will be when the time is right. An opportunity may appear, or a direction, fresh wave of inspiration or vision for your future. With the exit sign will come peace and internal joy.
“For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”
~ 2 Cor 2:14
Even if the way will be clearly challenging, you will be ready to undertake it, knowing your destiny is to triumph!
You are called to go from faith to faith. May God be glorified in your life like never before!