A meditation written on a July morning in Stonington, Maine —
On some days, we look through our morning window and see the islands dotting the bay. Beautiful and green, they lay scattered across the sea as though God took a handful of rocks and skipped them across the water. Some are covered in jagged pine; others are no more than rocky outcroppings reaching upward out of the sea. On these mornings, we can see to the horizon, where sparkling water meets the sky. The air is clear, every color crisp and shining.
Then there are times when a huge bank of fog rolls across the bay, swallowing up the islands as it invades this fishing harbor and little village. The islands disappear. We see nothing beyond the few dories tied up at the dock. Dull sky and sea are the same color and meld into one curtain that restricts our view and eradicates the horizon.
Later — sometimes in only minutes, sometimes in days — the fog seems to tire of its visit and the grayness rolls out to sea again, leaving the harbor clear, the moored lobster boats shining in sunlight, and the islands brilliantly green against a blue sky.
The fog is part of the rhythm of life here at the edge of the sea.
And just as the islands and horizon sometimes fade and vanish into grayness but other times swell into view sharp and clear and breathtaking, the views from our spiritual windows disappear and reappear.
Sometimes, we see clearly, we are certain, we have no doubts. Our belief is firm and glimpses of the eternal horizon take our breath away.
And then there are the days when we peer into mistiness, when our views are shortened, and all we know for a certainty is the Rock under our feet.
The psalmist had those days, too. The songs and poetry of Psalms are full of cries to God. “God, I cannot see you! My enemies are going to defeat me! Where are you? Why do you wait so long to help me? Have you forgotten about me?”
When the fog rolls over your harbor, when islands and horizon disappear from sight, and when there seems to be nothing but impenetrable grayness, believe what God has said to His children. Even when you can see nothing, the Lord’s love rests always upon you, and He hears those who cry out to Him.
But the LORD watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love.
He rescues them from death
and keeps them alive in times of famine.
We put our hope in the LORD.
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD,
for our hope is in you alone.
No matter how heavy the fog in your harbor this hour, the islands are still there and will appear again! Green, solid, beautiful, they come back into view, and the waters of the bay shimmer toward the horizon.
God, in all His goodness and love, still holds you, and He continues to work even though your sight may not be clear. Whether the harbor beset by fog is a troubled relationship, the heart of someone you pray for, or your own heart, He will accomplish His purposes. Stand on that rock.
The LORD will work out his plans for my life —
for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
… the Lord’s purpose will prevail.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. (emphasis added)
You have been chosen as a child of God. He holds your life in His hands and He will never abandon you. He has a purpose for your life and He is at work, even though you cannot see further than the Rock on which you stand.
We put our hope in you, O LORD. Help our unbelief in gray hours.
Scripture: Psalm 33:18-22; Psalm 138:8; Philippians 1:6; Proverbs 19:21; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11 (all NLT)
Photo: Ethel Miller