For the first time since I’ve been in Chico, I ran in the fog in Upper Bidwell Park. I left for my run at 8am, and I couldn’t see the end of my street from my driveway. As I got closer and closer to the park, I couldn’t see more than 50 feet ahead of me. I couldn’t see the first gate from the playground at Wildwood, I couldn’t see the cross from Upper Park Rd. I couldn’t see the foothills, Monkey Face, Horseshoe Lake. I couldn’t see any of it, but it was still there, and I know it is beautiful. I’ve seen the beauty of Upper Bidwell Park on a clear and sunny day, and in the fog that beauty doesn’t disappear, it’s just harder to see.
Our life is so foggy right now. We don’t know what’s more than fifty feet ahead. We don’t know what our destination looks like. We don’t know a lot of things. It’s foggy, it’s unclear, it’s scary. But one thing we can know is that under all that fog there is beauty, there is goodness. Just because we can’t see what God’s plan is for our lives, we can’t see the end, or the beauty, doesn’t mean it’s not there. We’ve got to trust that the good, faithful God that we’ve known all along is still there.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, and are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
We know that when we walk the trails he’s created for us good things are in store. When I run the trails that I’ve run for 16 years now in Upper Park, I know where they lead, where they end, and what beauty lies ahead. In the fog, the destination is the same, the trails are the same, but I have to trust that what I remember about them is still true. We have to trust that where we’ve seen God work before, where we’ve seen him faithful, he will always be faithful. And even if we haven’t walked hard rocky trails before, we’ve seen other people run them with abandon. We’ve seen men and women of faith who have walked before us, and we have seen God be faithful. We need to trust that if there is beauty for them, God also has planned beauty for us.
And in this posture of trust, instead of praying that the fog will lift, we need to be praying that we can trust that what is under the fog is good. We need to be praying that as we walk or run our paths that we can look down at what’s beneath us and trust that God is controlling what is ahead. We don’t need to see it. We just need to take the next right step, we just need to consult the God within us (the Holy Spirit), and take the next step. And when we don’t know what that next right step is, we’ve got to ask the only one who knows for sure.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you..” Matthew 7:7
If you’re unsure of what the next right step is, if there is conflict inside you, if there is a tension, just ask God to lead you. If we ask, if we seek, if we run toward the fog because we know the good is in there, God will provide what we ask. And if we seek with pure hearts his will to be done, we will only find beauty in that fog. It may not be what our flesh wants, and what our heart thinks we need, but it is God’s will, and it is good.
We cannot stop professing that God is good and he only does good things; it’s the only way I’m still standing this week. I’ve seen my share of hurt in this past year. Our community has seen death, tragic accidents, and illness, and we’re not quite out of the fog yet. It’s so hard to trust in the fog. The grief is still there, the injuries are still there, the tears are still flowing; it’s hard not to want to look ahead and say “Show me the result, please God, show me the good!” I don’t want to see any more hurt, and hard, and destruction. I want to see light and hope and good. But in the hurt, in the hard, in the destruction, deep in the fog, is where I find God. He’s in it, and I feel him, and I trust he’ll lead me out.
One of my favorite songs these days is “The Father’s House,” by Cory Asbury. The line I constantly hear in my mind, and repeat to myself is this: “And the story isn’t over if the story isn’t good, failures never final when the Father’s in the room…” It just isn’t. He’s not going to leave you in the fog. When you hit the end, when you get to the beauty, you will see it. It’s not over if you don’t see the good, so keep seeking it, and you’ll find it. It may not be today, or tomorrow, or next year, but under all that fog is the good, and only God will lead us there.
So take a deep breath, and remind yourself, “God is still good, God is still good, God is still good.”