Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

When You Can't See -- Faith in the Fog


On some days, I can almost glimpse eternity. It stretches outside my new office window (yep, that's my view in the picture), reaching down the green valley lined with oaks, touching the distant, snow-frosted mountains. On those days, I gaze out over the tall Monterey pines and search out that special place where sky meets earth in a blaze of blue glory. And I know that God is real, that He created all this beauty, and that He shares it with me because He loves me. On those days, I have no doubts, no questions, no fear.

Too bad every day isn't one of those days. On many days, I can see no mountains, no valley. Even the tops of pines are blotted from my view. Instead, fog is laced through the bottom branches and swirls in thick ripples across the ground. Grayness presses against my window and forms tiny water droplets on the glass. It covers the mountains, masks the oaks, camouflages the pines. On one of those days not so long ago, I sat at my desk and peered out into the day, and saw nothing but waves of thick fog.

“So, how do you like your new office?” My husband’s voice sounded from the doorway behind me.

I turned and smiled at him. “I love it. And the view out this window is incredible. You ought to see it.”

Bryan strode through the door and leaned against the windowsill. His eyes narrowed. “You’re kidding, right?”

“No, really. Oaks and pines, and snow-tipped mountains kissing the sky.”

Bryan’s eyebrows rose to his hairline. “Very poetic, but it looks like a bunch of fog to me.” His voice lowered to a mutter. “Snow-kissed mountains. Yeah, right.”

I sat back in my chair and crossed my arms over my chest. “You’ll just have to take my word for it. On a clear day . . . wow, you can see forever.”

Bryan shrugged his shoulders. “If you say so.” He dropped a handful of mail onto my desk, then turned and left.

In the moments that followed, I shuffled through the mail then allowed my gaze to again travel out the window. The fog wouldn’t lift today. And maybe not tomorrow. It could be days, I knew, before I caught sight of the mountains or valley again. But the vision of snow-topped mountains and the deep green of the valley oaks remained fixed in my mind. I knew the mountains were out there, even though I couldn’t see them. I trusted that the trees remained as green and beautiful, even when they were lost to my sight.

As I sat and listened to the silence tangle with the fog outside, I was reminded of the Bible’s definition of faith. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

I used to live as if faith was seeing the mountains. I believed that if I only had enough faith, I would see God clearly, I would always know what He wants, I wouldn’t have any doubts, any questions. There would never be any fog.

But these days, I'm beginning to see faith differently. Faith, I'm coming to believe, doesn’t dispel the fog, but is found within it. Faith isn’t about seeing the mountains. It’s about believing they are there when all my senses deny it. It’s about believing in that spot of blue glory when all I see is the persistent grayness.

There are times when I wonder if God really loves me, when hurt and confusion press against the window of my soul, when doubts creep in and twine around my thoughts as surely as the fog twists through the trees. That’s when faith flourishes. As surely as I can say I know the mountains and oaks and pines are there, even though I can’t see them, so I can say, I know God loves me even though I can’t see it now. I know that I am His and that He died for me. I choose to believe what I cannot see. For faith is not seeing, but believing, even in the fog. Especially in the fog.

And today, for me, the fog is thick indeed.


Kelli Standish said...

Oh Marlo!
My fog is thick too. Today I find myself longing for home, and certain I have not yet found it on this planet.

Today I long for a place where life is not so hard, and pain is not so deep, and people mean what they say... and are not mean in what they say. A place where hope is not deferred, and God is understandable. A place of rest.

But until I find that home, I thank God for people like you who write to remind me what it looks like, what it smells like, and how truly vivid it is.

Cheering you on always,