Every summer I spend a few days on an island that is best reached by ferry. There are lots of flights from the mainland, but the busy little airport on the island is often closed by fog.
That's how it was early one morning recently. I sat on the deck of a friend's house looking out over an expanse of water that I couldn't see. I knew it was there. I could hear the thrust and splash of tiny waves on the beach, and gulls were diving through the gloom in search of breakfast.
Suddenly across the swirling nothingness in front of me came the plaintive call of a fog horn. There was music in its voice - somewhere between a trombone and a double bass - but appropriately muted, recognizing that much of the island was still asleep.
The sound carried no sense of alarm. It was just a kindly alert that no one should be deceived by the dense grayness into taking a wrong turn, misjudging distance, failing to see or be fooled by rocks. I actually found those calls comforting.
Fog is one of the great metaphors. I thought about how God consistently shows us the way through the shoals of life. He's always present, always watching over us and giving unerring guidance when we can't see our way clearly.
Right there in the fog, I was aware of the calmness, serenity, and beauty of that summer morning. I gave thanks in my heart for what I knew to be there - the colorful boats riding in the water below, the wild rugosa roses that challenged the redness of the sunset, the wide clear waters of the bay. The fog could do nothing to obliterate my awareness of them.
I watched shafts of light trying to pierce the gloom. I knew the sun was there, just as I knew God was there.
In fogs of fear, poverty, uncertainty, listlessness, depression, we can hear God's guidance. And if our own mental turmoil obscures or carries the signals away momentarily, we can improve our listening by strong affirmations of God's all-power and healing presence.
I thought about how often my life has followed this pattern: Everything is hunky-dory. Life feels good. Then something troubling happens. Foggy thoughts roll into my routine, veil me in confusion, cloud my vision. The cause may be an argument, a difficult neighbor, a disobedient child, or something tragic in a friend's life or in the world.
We all grope through gloom like this. But there's a signal that guides us through. I sometimes ask myself, "From God's viewpoint, has anything really changed? Am I going to forget the Bible's assurance that 'God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good' "? (Gen. 1: 31) And there's this one, too: "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it" (Eccl. 3:14). Nothing that comes from God is variable, incomplete - or hidden!
The fog horn is a steady reminder that there is a safe passage through bewildering circumstances of every kind. We don't need to get lost in the fog. We have not suddenly lost our identity as God's beloved children. He has not forsaken us! We can regain our innate consciousness of good and see through the fog to the perfection and completeness of God's creation - which includes you and me.
Self-pity, resentment, or fear can't roll in when we keep up those strong affirmations of God's goodness. Persisting this way is like pulling back on the joystick and soaring above the clouds. We can rise above the fog to reach that altitude where we know God is in control.
Unlike those aircraft grounded temporarily on that gloomy island runway, we have God-approved clearance for take-off at any time.
... the mist of materialism will vanish as we approach spirituality, the realm of reality; cleanse our lives in Christ's righteousness; bathe in the baptism of Spirit, and awake in His likeness.
Mary Baker Eddy
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society