One day this summer, I made the crazy decision to go on a sunrise hike with my friends. It was my day off, and for whatever reason I was in the mood for some early adventure. So, instead of trying to catch up on some much needed sleep, I gave into my FOMO hoping for some sweet views and memories. The hike was an hour drive away, so we had to pull out of camp gates at 4:30 AM just to make it on time. In that moment, I decided it would be the last time I do anything at 4:30 AM. We take off on the Blue Ridge Parkway blasting some music and working on our second cup of coffee trying to get in the mood.
About 15 minutes in, we notice that the road starts to get REAL foggy. Turns on the BRP are pretty sharp at some points, so we have to slow down so that we don’t fly off the side of the mountain. Aside from that, things are not looking well in terms of optimal sunrise viewing. I keep trying to get glimpses of the sky, but can’t even see ten feet over our heads. Nevertheless, we are determined to see a good sunrise, so we press on. As we continue to drive, there are moments where the fog lessens, and other moments where it is thicker than mud, so we essentially have no idea what to expect when we get to this place. About ten minutes out from where the hike starts, the fog disappears, and me and my buddies get hype. The sky is slowly changing colors, and it seems as if we will get that picture-perfect sunrise.
We finally pull up to the parking lot at the base of the hike, and my heart immediately drops. The summit is absolutely entrenched in fog, and any hope I had of enjoying this sunrise went down the drain. Not only that, but the trail leading up to the top is also covered in fog. I get out of the car, and it is pretty evident among the faces of my friends that no one thought this hike was going to be worth it. Yet, for some reason, not a single one of us hesitated, and we made our way up to the summit.
I wish I could say that we got to the top, and waiting for us was this unreal display of God’s beauty and creation. That would have been wild. In fact, I think we got up there and it seemed less clear than when we had left. In every direction we looked, fog was there, waiting to mask the view we so eagerly wished to take in. It was a major bummer. In the moment, I was pretty disappointed because I felt that I had dedicated time and effort and sleep to witness God go crazy in the sunrise, and I was being rewarded with just bleak nothingness.
The main reason I share this story is to highlight the lesson I learned in the midst of the fog. I think we, as followers of Christ, get so caught up on praising Him when its comfortable for us. Or when we can easily stand up and say “Hey, look at the awesome things God is doing in my life”. Rather, we need to learn that the same God who paints the sky with brilliant colors also covers mountains with a thick fog. And at most points in life, if we are being honest, we are in the midst of that fog. There is no clarity in those moments. In fact, it usually seems that the more we search for a way out, the thicker the fog gets. It becomes hard to remember where you came from, and which direction you’re heading in.
But, just because the fog exists does not mean that God is not in control. The trail up the mountain that leads to Him still persists, and that is all we need. Even more so, the work God is doing in us and around us is also present. It’s just shrouded by the fog that He has placed there Himself! There is nothing we can do to get rid of the fog in our lives, and that is a beautiful thing. When we begin to realize that there is nothing we can do to move the fog, we free ourselves to praise Him for who He is, even in the midst of confusion. There is a peace that comes from realizing that not only is that all we can do, but it’s also all we are called to do.. Because of the death and resurrection of Christ, we have nothing else to do in life but praise Him and bring glory to Him forever. There is no aspect of earning an opportunity to sit at His feet, no checklist we have to mark off for the day. Just open arms eagerly waiting for us to step out into the fog that He has so graciously placed in our lives.
A.W Tozer writes in a book titled The Pursuit of God the following words: “We can exaggerate about many things; but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us. All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet we should never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of Him. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all He is, or to praise Him for all He has done, but then, that matters not; for we shall be always with Him, and we desire nothing more.”
I mean, I could sit in this paragraph for the rest of my life, and still not get over it. This is our only job in life. Glorify Him and take delight in the fact that He loves us and cares for us, and that we are able to enter into his presence. Regardless of circumstances, He still controls the wind and the waves in our lives.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know what the past few months have looked like for you. But, I’m sure that frustration, confusion, heartbreak, anxiousness, and probably anger has been present at some point. It definitely has been in mine. In no way, shape, or form, did I think this was how 2020 was going to play out. But God did. That’s what is awesome to me. Nothing going on right now has surprised Him, or caught Him off guard. He is still the same loving and good Father that He has always been, and will continue to be.
Whatever is going on for you right now, I want to encourage you to sit in His presence and praise Him for who He is – a good, good Father. If God is displaying His glory in you right now, shout it from the rooftops! If it seems that you have been drenched in confusion and frustration for months, or even years, there is praise to be given yet.
We did get a sunrise that morning after all, and I mean, it was beautiful. I think it was even more enjoyable knowing that God was the one who made it possible for us to see. I can’t promise that you will see God’s promises for you come to fruition in your life time. I just can’t. You might get the sunrise you are waiting on, you might not. Yet, God is still God. His goodness and sovereignty will never change, and His love for you is never failing.