On New Year’s Day, about mid-day, I decided to take our dog out for a walk, and opening the door, in our area, I was struck by how foggy it was outside. Fog resembling something like a scene from “Sleepy Hollow” permeated the air everywhere I could see. It was cold, it was dark, it was confusing, it was depressing, and suddenly, I thought about how fitting it was given the mood I think all of us were in as we finally bid 2021 goodbye with good riddance. Watching Ryan Seacrest and company count down the new year just felt like a flat soda. The atmosphere this New Year’s just wasn’t one of excitement or optimism as it was over 20 years ago as we ushered in the new century with promise for peace and prosperity; no, this was more an atmosphere of dread rather than euphoria, of survival rather than excitement and of weariness rather than celebration.
Thanks to COVID’s comeback, gridlocked polarizing politics, and even the passing of the iconic Betty White, the collective New Year’s jokes on the internet this time around were about lowering the bar of expectations for what lay ahead thanks to the collective disappointments of 2021. The emotional, mental, spiritual, economic and personal hardships that so many of us have borne have been like a long winter of the soul on par with “Game of Thrones.” Every few weeks, we hear about another variant in this never-ending pandemic, and we wonder if things will ever get back to anything close to normalcy again. Dreams have been dashed, visions have been on hold and promises unfulfilled. Disappointment has ruled the day. And yet, there is light in the fog, there is clarity during confusion, there is confidence amid uncertainty, and there is hope and a future where chaos seems to reign. There is a God.
NASA recently launched the most ambitious telescope in history, the James Webb Telescope, and its mission essentially is to try and get a better understanding of how the universe began, and therefore, what it’s all about. The Bible tells us that there, a creator whom we call God, who is behind it all, and he not only knows it all, but is intricately involved in it all. Perhaps in these foggy times, it’s helpful to get a clear picture of what it’s all about.
Who are we? Why are we here? What is the purpose of it all? Are we just here to play the game of life, and whoever has the most toys, best family, and largest 401(k) wins? The Bible tells us that, “God has set eternity in the hearts of man” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). There is a reason we have a longing for unconditional love. There is a reason we have a longing for worth, satisfaction and purpose. We were made on purpose for a purpose, and that purpose is, ultimately, to know our creator — to have a relationship with him through his son, Jesus Christ, and to live out our lives for a name that will outlast the Egyptian pyramids.
History is the story of God working in the world around us, and right now, God is working in your life and mine to get our attention and to bring us to the place and to the point where we find ourselves restless from the trek in the fog searching for and seeking answers that will lead us home. Jesus Christ is that light in the fog, and when you choose to follow him, you may not have all the answers to where he is taking you, but you can trust that the same God who made the Milky Way galaxy and designed the intricate complexities of the cell is also involved in the intricate complexities of your life and is working for your good even if everything you see and feel is anything but good.
It’s often said that the only thing certain in life is uncertainty, but I’d beg to differ. Another thing that’s for certain is that God is good, faithful and ultimately in control. We can have confidence in Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). As the civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy once said, “We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.” And for those of you who know him, we have an awesome responsibility in 2022. We must let the light of Christ shine through us in the fog. We let it shine by loving our neighbor as ourselves, by living out our faith with authenticity, and by trusting the lord with all our hearts. Will you let his light shine in the fog this year?
“Even in our dark times, God is still there. His light still shines.” - Anonymous
Stephen Mitchell is the senior pastor of Trinity Bible Church in Severna Park. He also is the host of a regular podcast, “Real Christian Talk with Pastor Steve,” available on all podcast platforms.
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