Friday, January 2, 2004 — 4:00p.m
A Day of Fog
I was traveling on an old country road surrounded by farm land and the fog was so thick I could only see about 25 feet in front of me. I have to be careful as I drive, I thought to myself. As soon as I made the decision to drive slower—the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “This is faith.” I turned the radio down in my car so that I could think about what He was speaking. I looked more intently at my surroundings and quickly agreed—yes, this is faith! Then I realized that I cannot make the decision to slow down when He is not telling me to slow down—He desires that I trust Him and have faith that He will lead me and let me know when to slow down. So I continued to go 55 mph—listening and looking intently for the next instruction.
Our Responsibility as Believers
All of us are on a journey—and we are racing to reach the goal, the prize, life eternal with Christ. And in this journey there is fog all around us and we are unable to see where we are going. That is what faith is all about—not being able to see, but trusting you are headed in the right direction. The Lord knows the road we are on—its pitfalls, its turns, its windy parts, the bumpy parts, the hills and valleys, and the straight ways. It is up to us to keep our ears open to His voice and our eyes on Him. While I was driving I realized I could not see anything else but what was in front of me. It was useless for me to become fearful about approaching cars or wondering what curve was approaching next. Why, because then I would not be in faith, but unbelief and not trusting that the Lord would lead me in the right direction.
Obeying the Signs
I did notice the signs on the road. Just before an approaching curve—I would see a sign and in obeying the sign, I was safe. Our walk with the Lord is the same—we must keep our eyes fixed and listen and look for His signals—and as we obey Him, we are safe from harms way and we have no need to fear. If I were to ignore the sign of a sharp turn ahead and continue doing 55 mph, I would have quite the accident. But instead, I knew this sign meant that I needed to slow down to 15 mph, because the sign said so.
Heb 11:1-2—Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. NKJV
The Substance of Faith
The only substance of faith is that which is what is hoped for—we hope to complete the race to life eternal—we hope for healing—we hope for deliverance—we hope for providence—and most importantly hope to know Him. We have hope for many areas in life. And what is beautiful is that we do not need to see our surroundings—or even understand our surroundings on this journey, because faith is also the evidence of things we do not see.
As I continued to drive, some of the fog began to lift and I asked the Lord what this meant. I realized that sometimes in our journey the fog is lifted for a period of time and the Lord allows us to see our surroundings. Why? Simply because He loves us and it also is a testing time. What I suddenly noticed is that I began to relax more in my driving and became caught up in my surroundings than on watching, listening and focusing in where I was going. I was so caught up in my surrounding and the beauty of the country that I missed the speed limit sign that told me to slow down. When the Lord lifts the fog on our journey we need to be careful to not become distracted by our surroundings—otherwise we lose our focus and we begin to doubt the Lord—this is not faith, but unbelief and to be unbelieving is sin. We also when the fog is lifted see other roads and begin to doubt the road we are on—if it is the right one.
One thing I am reminded of is when I drive with my husband. My husband is a much focused driver. He obeys all the road signs to a tee! When I drive he makes sure that I am aware of what is approaching. In fact, I become so distracted by my surroundings (especially when I see horses, I just love horses) that I miss every speed limit sign. It bothers him that I do not pay attention. And now I understand why. When I don’t pay attention to where I am going and what is approaching, I have taken control of the wheel and put my life and the life of others in my own hands—which causes me to be in unbelief and sin. But the Lord desires our hearts, our eyes and our ears to be on Him.
The Cross before Me, the World behind Me…
That night I had a vision of a stained glass window. Except I did not see the entire stained glass window, I saw a “zoom in” of a portion of a stained glass window and it focused on the Cross. I’m reminded by my husband of the saying that goes, “we can’t judge the tree from the forest and the forest from a tree—the forest is so dense because it has so many trees—you cannot see one specific tree. And we can be so caught up in one tree that we cannot see the forest.” But most importantly as I relate the vision I had to a country road—I realize that whether God has given us sight to see the road we are on or not—we need to see Christ and Him crucified. Whether there is fog or no fog—I need to focus on Christ—not the stained glass window or my surroundings. Why? Because that’s the “fog of FAITH”.
Yet- this bird is a pure representation of BLIND FAITH in Christ.
a Passage from Clark’s Commentary
4 Look at the proud; his soul is not straight or right within him, but the [rigidly] just and the [uncompromisingly] righteous man shall live by his faith and in his faithfulness. [Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11.]
He that presumes on his safety without any special warrant from God, is a proud man; and whatever he may profess, or think of himself, his mind is not upright in him. But he that is just by faith shall live-he that believes what God hath said relative to the Chaldeans besieging Jerusalem, shall make his escape from the place, and consequently shall save his life. The words in the New Testament are accommodated to the salvation which believers in Christ shall possess. Indeed, the just-the true Christians, who believed in Jesus Christ’s words relative to the destruction of Jerusalem, when they found the Romans coming against it, left the city, and escaped to Pella in Coelesyria, and did live-their lives were saved: while the unbelieving Jews, to a man, either perished or were made slaves. One good sense is, He that believes the promises of God, and has found life through believing, shall live by his faith. (Clark)
Not only does it contain the great events that establish the fact of His government, and the character of that government not only the proofs of His fidelity to His people, and His estimate of the evil that led to judgment, but also His answer to every feeling caused by the series of events by which He chastised them, the relief which He affords to the anguish that must be felt by one who is faithful, on account of the affliction of God’s beloved people, together with the profitable exercise of his faith. The perfect ways of God are unfolded on the one side, and on the other the heart is formed to the intelligence of those ways, and to the enjoyment of the full effect of the faithfulness of the God of love; while, during the expectation of this effect, confidence in God Himself is established, and the links of the heart with God are abundantly strengthened.
First of all, the prophet complains that the evil which exists among the people is insupportable. This is the natural effect of the working of the Spirit of God in a heart jealous for His glory and detesting evil. The heart of the prophet, formed in the school of the law, speaks perhaps of the evil in the spirit of the law. The Spirit of God does not bring him out of this position, which was properly that of a prophet before God, and he judges the evil in a holy manner, according to a heart that was faithful to the blessings of Jehovah.
There upon Jehovah reveals to him the terrible judgment by which He will chastise the people who thus gave themselves up to evil. He would raise up against them the Chaldeans, those types of pride and energy, who, successful in all their enterprises, sought glory only in the opinion they had of themselves. Their head, forsaking the true God who had given them their strength, would worship a God of his own. * [* Sad effect of pride, which, unknown to itself, is the parent of weakness! Man cannot sustain himself; and the pride which rejects the true God must and does make one for itself, or adopts what its fathers have made, for pride cannot stand in the presence of the supreme God. Man makes a God: this, too, is pride. But he cannot do without one; and after all, the natural heart is the slave of that which it cannot do without.]
But all this awakens in the prophet a different sentiment from that which he before experienced. Here was his God denied by the instrument of vengeance, and the beloved people trodden down by one more wicked than themselves. But faith knows that its God, the true God, is the one and only Lord, * and (already a profound consolation assuring the heart of salvation) that it is Jehovah who has established the wicked in power for the correction of His people. But shall they continue to fill their net with men, as though they were but fish?
There is nothing finer than this development of the thoughts of the Spirit of God, the sorrows and anxieties produced by Him, the answer of God to give understanding and strengthen faith, in order that the heart may be in full communion with Himself.