The Heart of the Matter
Earlier this month, as a friend and I were driving to another town, we passed through a forest with trees flanking the road on either side. The sun was shining brightly, almost blinding me as it sliced between branches and leaves. But suddenly, when we crested a hill, we were surprised to see a thick fog in the distance. As we approached, the clear streaming rays of sunlight vanished and we were engulfed in the haze.
I see metaphors and object lessons in many situations, and this was no exception.
As is the case with many of you, I am constantly seeking to do God’s will. I pray, and make plans according to how I believe the Lord is leading me, and I move confidently forward in the brightness of God’s favor for that endeavor. But, inevitably (here’s where the metaphor comes in), as I move down the road, my perception becomes murkier, and I don’t see my way as clearly. And then I begin to question and second-guess whether anything was ever clear at all.
But Jesus, like that road, is still there. And, as long as I keep my eyes on Him, I’ll get through it. I may not see as far ahead into the distance as I’d like, but I can see the ground that is still solid, right there immediately in front of me.
The question is: once the fog sets in, how should I respond? Should I slam on my brakes, causing a wreck in my panic? Should I continue to speed ahead with no regard to my impaired vision? (Who else might I put at risk if that is my approach?) Or do I have the faith to slow down and move, prayerfully, purposefully and confidently through the fog?
Those of us in ministry go into it wanting nothing more than to do the Lord’s will. We have a clear vision, and move forward in faith. And then, it happens: we are somehow slowed down or hindered, confused about whether we are doing what we’re supposed to be doing. And we become frustrated by our dimmed vision and lack of momentum. But Jesus is still there. He may have slowed you for His purposes. Perhaps to pave the way ahead of you in His perfect timing. Perhaps to strengthen your faith. But He is still there and this is no time to give up. He will tell you if it’s His will for you to change course but—until He does—press on. Confidently. Through the Fog.
In the past, when I encountered the fog, I worried about whether all my effort in ministry was even in the Lord’s will. What if I had made wrong choices somewhere along the way? What if I had chosen the wrong ministry? What if I wasn’t even on the right road at all?
I have come to know that, if we are leading people to Him, we are in His will. Because, regardless of the specific details of our ministry, there is one thing we know for certain: we are here to share the Good News of Jesus with the world. As long as we are doing that, we are clearly doing what we were called to do.
Ministry can be tough. The fog will come, but Jesus is there. So, as a fellow worker, I encourage you—press on through the fog, to the Light.