Today, I listened to a video interview with Jan Burl, who had survived a stroke. It was fascinating to hear her experiences with that. One thing she mentioned was struggling with depression. Since I had struggled with depression years ago for other reasons, I decided to post my oft-published article titled “Patches of Fog.
Patches of Fog
“Patches of fog won’t hold up under sun.”I clipped this intriguing phrase out of a newspaper, pondering its meaning. “Patches of fog” reminded me of the confusion and depression I’d experienced.
“Lord, give me clear sailing,” is what I often cry
when I feel the fog’s so thick I’d really rather die.
Then, just for a moment, He’ll cause the fog to lift.
But He says, “My grace, sufficient, is the greater gift.
“When at last, you’ve stood the test,” He gently lets me know,
“you’ll receive the crown of life. The trials help you grow.
God didn’t abandon me in the fog; He sent sunshine to penetrate it and break it up. “Patches of fog won’t hold up under sun” became a promise to me that eventually the depression and confusion would be gone. Like most promises, it is linked with responsibility. I had to choose whether or not to expose my “fog” to the sun. When I did, God revealed underlying attitudes of rebellion, self-righteousness, and resentment. As I confessed these, (i.e. “laid them out in the sun”), He forgave me and cleansed me of them.
God sent His sunshine through other Christians, also. They prayed and talked with me—when I sought them out. I could feel His light and warmth driving away the fog as I attended worship services, sang praises, prayed, read my Bible, and listened to Christian music. The sun couldn’t shine on me if I hid in a cubby hole. I needed to get out into the sunshine to let it warm me and lighten my heart.
Some fog seemed endless. However, God works in fog as well as in light. The Psalmist mentions God riding on the clouds. Perhaps I needed to experience it in order to call out to God. When I called to Him in my distress, God delivered me and began to work out His loving purpose in me.
The Psalmist says, “The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth,… He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses,” (Psalm 135:6-7, NIV).
“These verses seem to say to me, “When your world is coming to an end, God is the one who makes it foggy and scary and bitterly cold.” Why would He do this? He must have a good reason. I came to realize I’d been clinging to some idols. Other people, my emotional needs, and my natural desire to be loved and appreciated had become more important to me than obedience to God. He knows it is best for us to worship Him alone. It took a storm to rip me away from the idols to which I had clung.
Jesus came to me in my cloud of depression and confusion, warming my emotions with reassurances of love. This sunlight gradually broke my fog into patches and drove it away. Now, if I hit a patch of confusion or depression, I turn to God, exposing my heart to His sunlight through His Word, prayer, worship, or Christian fellowship. Soon the fog is gone.
“Patches of fog won’t hold up under sun;” they disappear.
Judith Vander Wege, (author of Books: Rescued By God’s Mercy, The Runaway, Songs & Poems From a Yielded Heart, and Blessed Through the Years.