It’s morning, so I unfold from my blankets and walk my still-pajama’d self down the stairs for coffee. On the way down the steps, as always, I cast a sleepy gaze out the large window above our front door. This window offers glimpses of what awaits after my morning coffee: rays of streaming sun or snow-covered trees or hints of green on waking-up branches.
But on this day, I peer out to see nothing. In seventeen years of repeating this ritual, I have never seen nothing.
A rare, thick fog has crept across the sidewalk and camped itself over our front lawn, cocooning us in. My sons pour cereal and I sip coffee and we all keep peeking out as we prepare to leave for the day. As we heave backpacks and lace shoes, still no hint of sky appears. It’s disorienting.
My youngest son and I walk to school on days when the weather is good. Today’s weather category is literally unclear — but after some debate, off we go. Not being able to see the full sidewalk ahead of us changes our familiar ten-minute stroll. Our steps slow and we get to school tired.
The journey is a lesson: Not being able to see changes the way we walk.
This seems like the perfect time to tell you that I sometimes worry about running ahead of God. We’ve had conversations about this, He and I. So often I pray: Lord, help me to stay in step with you. When I hear what He asks of me, I like to race off, striving to earn His love and thinking I can see what’s ahead.
I actually did that once.
I was seven or eight, heading to a lights display with my parents and grandparents. With excitement, I pointed at the lights ahead and, walk-running in my moon boots (they were cool then, thank you very much), I grabbed my dad’s hand. . .but when I looked up, I saw a stranger’s face smiling down at me. Terrified, I dropped this stranger’s hand and turned around to find my family. They’d been watching. I was fine. But I had such a hard time getting over the scare that I didn’t even enjoy the lights I’d run ahead to see.
So, on this clouded day of keeping slow pace with my youngest, I wonder, do I still run ahead? Do I follow the bright and shiny things, letting go of Who is by my side? Do I still grab onto the wrong things?
In the most mysterious way, this fog is sharpening my view. How can clear skies and straight roads give way to a fog that brings clarity?
I recall those times I’ve felt most connected to Him — when physical limitations kept me from walking; when emotional wounds forced a season of slow healing; when “no” landed unexpected and hard. Those were times I couldn’t run ahead. I could only be still. Why is it, when I can’t see, I feel Him closest and hear Him loudest?
In 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely,” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT).
This wisdom about seeing imperfectly is written by the man who literally went blind when he met Jesus. This is the same man who ran ahead of God for years, carrying a self-appointed banner for God while persecuting Jesus. He believed he could see perfectly — until he met Jesus.
For three days, he waited and prayed in darkness. After Ananias prayed over him and restored his eyesight, he emerged proclaiming Jesus. In the midst of Paul’s blindness, Jesus changed his heart. Paul began to see clearest when he could see the least. Paul knew first-hand what it meant to see that only God sees with perfect clarity. From then on, he held a deep understanding of how it is God alone who offers us perfect sight.
Walking through the fog alongside my youngest, we fell into a beautiful, unspoken rhythm of staying in step. Our limited view offered a peaceful reliance and truth: Seeing less with our eyes invites us to see more with our souls.
And, if seeing less means staying in step with Him, then may we welcome the fog that holds our souls close. Because, I don’t want to run ahead. I don’t want to be distracted by what’s bright and shiny.
I don’t want to grab the wrong hand…I want only to grab God’s hand.
But He knows where I am going. And when He tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed His ways and not turned aside.