“How are you?”
“I feel like I’m in a fog.”
I overheard a conversation start like that many times, but the response given this time sparked something in me that I couldn’t shake. The answer was coming from someone going through a tough time.
My heart crumbled a little bit because I know that feeling. It creeps on you, subtle but very much present; a fog will make you feel isolated, confused. It will rearrange your priorities. It’s not a nice cozy feeling, but one of bewilderment as you stumble forward, you try and remind yourself that you worship a living God that is in control despite the fog. The brief conversation also reminded me of early morning drives down my street, from home to school, when thick, crisp, lightly humid fog covered the still lakes and dewy, grassy spans pouring into the cold and quiet asphalt streets. Fog understood no difference between the lakes and the asphalt. It was interesting that fog had stirred different feelings in me. The difference seemed to be that the “negative or vague” fog was something I had picked up in literature but the child in me was intrigued by fog and celebrated it because I knew I had to soak in the experience of it because it wouldn’t last. Then I wondered, what does the Bible have to say about fog? Want to know the answer?
I had to search the word fog in different versions from the KJV to find one solitary verse, James 4:14, in the NLT version uses the term fog to describe what the KJV calls “vapour”. Basically, the term as we generally know it, is not used in the old language. What is most commonly used is the word cloud. Cloud!
In Genesis, He set a rainbow in the cloud as a reminder of His covenant with Abraham. In Exodus, one of the most evident revelations of His presence in the lives of the Israelites as they leave Egypt behind is that He “…went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud…”
Over and over, from Genesis to Revelations, a cloud would descend, appear, lead, cover from harm, disappear, remain until. It actually blew my mind how much the Bible mentions a cloud. It also convicted me. It stirred in me a lesson I had listened to about our attitude in the midst of trials or life in general. The more I read scripture involving clouds the more I realized that whenever a cloud appeared, it was God-sent.
Exodus 13:22 says ”He took NOT away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people…” Imagine being in the Israelite walk-a-thon and there’s a cloud before you and that’s all you can see. You’re being told to trust and walk. Don’t look back to Egypt. Then, things are dicey and the Lord’s presence descends on a mountain as a cloud with a rumble so deep that it shakes you to your bones! Conviction sets in. You can read about that in Exodus 19 where the cloud is even described as thick. The tabernacle is built and the Lord consistently presents Himself in this form. A cloud. Evidently moving by itself. A cloud. It fills the mercy seat. A cloud. Covering you from seeing past it and anyone seeing you in the midst of it. What I saw at that point is that God in His desperate love for them created a way to envelope His people without smothering them! Holy covering.
God put my attitude in check at this point for my own circumstance.
Am I in a fog or in a cloud? Yes, I understand a fog is a kind of cloud! But, am I going to continue to buy into the perception of this world that a fog is plainly a state of not knowing what’s ahead or that it’s a blurring of reality because I’d rather not know? Will I hold on to confusion even though the word clearly states in 1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…” Or, am I going to get a hold of His promises of peace, grace, hope, strength, and faithfulness? Biblical verses on these abound! Colossians, Galatians, Hebrews, Peter even writes in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast our cares on Him because He cares. Will I truly take up the promises that have been given to me and embrace the cloud of the presence of my living God? Will I proclaim that He is my reality or fold under the pressure of wanting to know the unknown?
If God, Jesus Christ, has me in a cloud, I will trust that He is not only keeping me from seeing ahead for my own good but He might even be covering me so that my enemy can’t see where He’s taking me. I must believe. And if I believe, I must choose joy. I must glorify my Creator, Comforter, Father, my King. He must be exalted. He has been so good to me.
When fog happens, if my heart is in the right place, it should remind me that heaven came down. The Lord is in this cloud. His embrace is a breath away. I can dance with Him in this cloud. I can cry my guts out until my lungs are on fire. I can allow Him to lead me. In this cloud, I must continue moving forward when it moves and be still when it stands still. I learn to be sensitive. I learn I’m in a need-to-know basis and that’s perfectly fine because He wants my trust. I learn to hold the hand of my brethren and pray for their need because we are one body. I practice being patient. I practice being humble. I practice loving and being loved. I praise Him. I worship Him. The King of kings is in this cloud!
“So, how are you?”
“In a cloud! Praise the Lord!”