Lent has come and gone, bundled up and cast aside by Easter, the great dawning of the Light, but I seem to be left behind somewhere in the darkness. I’m not sure what I expected to happen, but it didn’t.
Maybe it’s the shortening of the days here in the southern hemisphere, maybe it’s the gathering gloom of depression, maybe it’s simply that I’m wearing shoes again because it’s getting cold and it just feels wrong.
I’m missing being barefoot. It gave me a sense of surety in my step, something important when your joints can wobble out of alignment with the least provocation. I also feel less connected to where I am, less settled.
I found that while going barefoot I listened to less music, less podcasts, maybe I was too busy listening to the world through my feet. Hearing tunes and harmonies I had missed when they were muffled by shoes.
Maybe this is all just a way of saying I feel like the fog is rolling in, ever thicker, and I can’t see where I’m going, and the bits I do know I can’t see how to get there,
that I’m feeling lost and afraid.
I feel like I have to keep reminding myself that God is here with me, that God will fulfill the promises made over the years. That I can, somehow, find contentment and peace in the midst of this cloud because God has not left me alone.
God is the cloud.
When the Israelites traveled for 40 years in the desert, God was with them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (see Exodus 13:21, Nehemiah 9:12). When the cloud lifted off the Tent of Meeting they moved, and when it rested they stayed put (see Numbers 9:17).
The Tent of Meeting is no longer a physical tent, it isn’t even a temple. When Jesus was crucified the curtain shutting off the Holy of Holies was torn in two (see Mark 15:37-38), symbolising our free access to God. The Tent of Meeting is right where you are; as Christians our bodies have become Temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthian 6:19), God dwells in us (Ephesians 4:6, James 4:5, 1 John 3:24).
So maybe I’m not lost, maybe I’m right where I’m meant to be in the midst of a God cloud, learning to walk by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
God keeps prompting me to take action, to step out, even when things are unclear and foggy, especially when things are unclear and foggy. Some days it seems easier to sit in fear. But that’s not what God has called me to, God has called me out of fear (Romans 8:15, 2 Timothy 1:7). The hard choice is stepping into the fear, into the fog, only to find there is a stepping stone there waiting. And even if my foot slips or there no stepping stone, God is still there, surrounding me.
I read the other day that many Christians believe that the Bible promises that God won’t give you more than you can handle and it’s often a platitude passed off without much thought (especially of how harmful it can be when you are really not coping). But the Bible says no such thing. In fact Paul talks about despairing unto death in 2 Corinthians 1:8 : “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.”
I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately. Too much pain, too tired, pressures of getting work done. God has been inviting me to trust for my daily needs, especially in the midst of this fog. It feels like a battle, and I’ve been keeping my armour on, but I still feel lost. The fear of not knowing is hard to let go of. But I’ll continue pressing in, one step at a time, into the fog, trusting through my fear, hoping that if I fall the fog will be thick enough catch me.
“When you get to the end of all the light you know and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.”
– Edward Teller