By ANNIE WESCHE
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Some years ago on a late-summer morning, I set off in the early dawn for a solitary walk on the wet sands of the Oregon Coast. The air was chilled and I found warmth under the soft, thick layer of my fleece sweatshirt, while still opting for flip-flops on my cold feet. Though it was still summer and warmth would soon descend upon the day as the sun rose higher, these early hours were still in the grip of the cold night and blanketed in a low-lying fog. After walking from our rented condo and down the steps of the bluff onto the sand, I slipped off my sandals and set out on the familiar beach walk. I drank in the salty smell of the ocean, the sound of the rhythmic waves, the birds calling to the morning with their song, and the gentle kiss of mist upon my face. I closed my eyes and delighted in the gift of this refreshing moment, thanking the Lord for another coastal holiday with my parents.
After walking for some time lost in my thoughts, I looked up and suddenly shifted from
I should try to go back, I thought. But how far have I come? I knew the general direction to go back by the placement of the incoming waves at my feet. Turning to face where the bluff should be, I could no longer see it or any of the staircases that would lead me back up to the road.
Anne Shirley’s expression from the movie Anne of Green Gables came to
I turned and began walking back the way I had come. I unburdened my fear to the unseen One who walked with me and whispered a prayer for His sweet safe-keeping. As I walked with Him by faith into the mysterious mist, I entered into the intimacy of prayer with my Heavenly Father. He knew the way I should walk, and with Him I was safe.
It wasn’t long before the sun rose higher, unfurling its powerful warmth, and the fog began to swiftly flee over the bluff to take refuge inland. The display of majesty overwhelmed me as I stopped to watch the gleaming sun fall on the fog in glorious rays of light, and masterfully drive the mist away. It looked like God’s own hand was pulling back the fog like a blanket. And in that fleeting, awesome moment, my eyes beheld more of my Creator’s unceasing wonder!
With the fleeing fog, also went all confusion and fear as the expansive beach before
. . .
I often think back to that fearful, awe-inspiring morning walk. I’ve encountered fog on many occasions throughout my life — though never to the same intensity as that morning. But there is also another type of fog we can experience — one that can settle upon our hearts and minds, often in times of confusion, uncertainty, trials, or grief. Circumstances in life unfold and we find ourselves unsure of what to do or how to move forward, desperately longing to see clearly again and for the sun to shine on the days ahead. And unlike my beach walk where the hint of alarm was also mingled with wonder and awe, this kind of soul-fog can be fraught with fear and anxiety.
One of my Mum’s most beloved Bible passages was Psalm 16. And it was during her six-month battle with brain cancer, as we watched her fade from this life and into eternity, that I also grew to deeply treasure the words of this Psalm — specifically the eighth verse. I clung with all my aching heart to the precious truth: “I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (emphasis added). When she became sick, our world was undeniably shaken, and I felt so weak and weary from the emotional storm we were navigating with the Lord. But this verse was an anchor for my soul, and as I held to its promise, I found real strength in the One who was continually before us.
Jesus, the Son of God, is the sunlight of our life. (See Psalm 27:1.) There are times when He allows us to linger in the fog so we will reach out and cling to Him alone, learning to trust in His Word and Who He is — by faith, rather than by sight — as we walk through unknowns. And as we turn our eyes on Him in the midst of those foggy life-moments, and ask the Son of God to shine into the center of our circumstances, He can pierce any fog with His rays of light, revealing His loving presence and leading us in the steps we should take.
If you are in the midst of a dense fog of fear or confusion or grief or uncertainty — may you, dear friend, find refuge, safety, and unshakable hope in setting the Lord before you. Set your thoughts, eyes, and heart upon all that He is. Allow the light of Jesus to shine on your unknown road ahead, your trial bearing down, your uncertainty of the future, your loneliness in the walk, the longing yet unfulfilled, the suffocating grief, the consuming physical pain, or the unforgiveness embittering your soul. Allow His light — His Word — to pierce your soul’s fog, and then, in response to His holy Word, trust and obey Him with all your heart. When Christ is before you, then peace is before you, grace is before you, love is before you, hope is before you, joy is before you, strength is before you, promise is before you, and truth is before you! Don’t remain disoriented, fearful, and lost in a hopeless fog. Open His Word, set Him continually before you, follow after Him with all your heart, and as He has promised — you will not be shaken.