By Richie Lawry
I woke up with a start as my alarm played its all too familiar tune. It seemed like I had just gone to bed, so why was my alarm going off? It was 3:00 A.M., and I needed to be on the road in a few minutes. Because there are no auto glass deliveries in our area, I travel to Little Rock twice a week to pick up my glass. I wipe the sleep out of my eyes and quickly get dressed, then head out the door.
A warm cocoon of fog greets me as I open the door. The porch lights try valiantly to pierce the hazy whiteness. I can feel the moistness of the air as I get into my shop truck. The cool, dewy sensation against the skin of my face and arms helps me wake up. The sound of the engine breaks the stillness of the night as I back out of my driveway.
“Great,” I thought. “Just what I need.” I was not looking forward to driving on the winding, curvy, twisting roads in the fog. My street was dark and alien. The fog was so thick that I couldn’t see my neighbors’ houses. As I drove towards town, I was mentally calculating how much extra time my trip would take. I knew that the fog would slow me down.
The downtown streetlights glowed eerily with a soft yellow glow as I made my way down the empty street. I didn’t encounter another vehicle for many miles as I clutched the steering wheel and peered into the strange combination of total blackness and the billowing whiteness illuminated by my headlights. Occasionally I would turn on my high beams to try to see better but then turn my headlights back to low beam as the high beams did nothing but illuminate the thick, blinding fog.
Occasionally as I gained elevation, the fog would become thin and luminous. I would relax my grip on the steering wheel and breathe a sigh of relief. But as soon as I went downhill, I could see the thick, impenetrable fog slowly creeping around me and filling the valley like a moist blanket. During one of the times when the fog was less intense, I spotted three deer beside the road. I realized that I would not have seen them if the fog was heavy and intensified my grip on the steering wheel.
Highway 270 between Pencil Bluff and Mt. Ida is very twisty and curvy. Sections of the road have recently been resurfaced, and there are no pavement markings. Without the white line beside the road to guide me, I drove very slowly. I breathed a sigh of relief when my thin white guide would reappear. The roadside was strange and gloomy, blurring spaces between the trees and blanketing the world in a milky mist. Mt. Ida was quiet and shrouded in mystery. A few lighted signs tried to penetrate the fog but only accomplished a few inches of soft light.
As I neared Hot Springs, there was more traffic. The fog wrapped each vehicle in a glowing cocoon of light. The night was slowly inching its way toward morning. The skies began to lighten, almost imperceptibly a first. But I relaxed as the fog started to dissipate slowly, and my visibility improved. By the time I merged onto Interstate 30, I could see patches of clear sky and a paper-thin crescent moon. I agreed with Jack Kerouac; “When the fog’s over and the stars and the moon come out at night it’ll be a beautiful sight.” Yes, Jack, I thought, “It is a beautiful sight.” I was relieved that the fog had lifted. Before long, the warm tones of the sunrise envelope the sky, and everything is right with the world.
I enjoy a bit of fog; it turns the world into a surreal landscape. But driving in a heavy fog can be frightening. You must slow down and be very alert. Faith is like driving in the fog. As we go through life, we don’t always see what’s right in front of us. Like a drive on a foggy night, life is revealed to us little by little. We can’t see into the future. God wants us to slow down and to make each action carefully and deliberately. He doesn’t want us to get in a hurry. That’s when accidents happen. We must have faith that we will get to where God wants us to be when His timing is right.
“Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.” Hebrews 11:1 (NCV) When you have to drive in heavy fog at night, and it is so thick that your headlights can only light a few feet in front of the car, it creates tension and fear. What if there’s something I can’t see? What if the road turns and I miss it? High beams that help you to see farther when it’s clear only make the situation worse. You have to drive slow to feel safe. You have to take your time in getting to your destination. True faith is finding certainty in uncertain times. It is learning to trust God in the patches of fog that happen in everyone’s life.
Faith is believing that God is with you, whatever your circumstances are. Whether life is going smoothly, or you are experiencing the foggiest night of your life. When the foggy night comes, we are not alone. In Psalms 32:8 (NIRV), God makes this promise to you; “I will guide you and teach you the way you should go. I will give you good advice and watch over you with love.”
Gentle Reader, in our lives, we need to stay constantly connected to God. If we put our faith in God, we will be okay. A foggy night can be confusing, but we can trust that God will guide us through it. Don’t panic because you can’t see into the future. Don’t let the fear of the unknown unnerve you. God knows your future. He has promised to guide you. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) Trust God to guide you through the storms of life and to get you where you’re going right on time. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” Psalms 119:105 (NAB/)