After the Morning Fog: Hot off the 2021 Press

When the clock struck Midnight on January 1, 2021, a flood of cheers and tears of joy spread through every home as fireworks paraded the sky in neighborhoods across the world. Scrolling through our social media feeds, it would be astonishing if one didn’t read the words, “We survived 2020” at least once. And, while 2020 was a difficult year that presented many different challenges, I hope it is a year that we didn’t just “survive” through.

In November 2019, I published my first devotional, Through the Morning Fog. Little did I realize how relevant that word would become in the coming year. I had recently walked out of a very foggy two years (you can read all about it in my devotional) and what I realized afterwards, is that the difficult chapters had better prepared me for what was ahead. Because, one of the greatest lessons I have learned is this: In the seasons where it feels like nothing is happening, that is actually where God is doing some of His greatest work. If I was to write a sequel to my first devotional, I would call it After the Morning Fog, but alas I have a couple other projects in the work right now, so instead, we are just going to keep it all here on the blog. This is my first, but not last, blog post on the subject as we strive forward+focus on what matters most in 2021.

For those who don’t know, I grew up in the Monterey Bay Area, where coastal fog made a regular occurrence. Did you know that fog is essential to keeping eco-systems alive? According to the Western Geographic Science Center, “coastal fog brings moisture to dry ecosystems and agricultural fields, cleaning the air of pollutants, and reducing summertime air temperatures and evaporation. Higher humidity, direct water and nutrient inputs, and lower temperatures result in reduced plant evapotranspiration stress, more photosynthesis, and increased soil metabolism, leading to higher ecosystem productivity.”

I know that’s a lot of scientific terms, but the main gist is this: Fog produces life that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Most of our agriculture in the United States comes from the Central Valley and Central Coast. Coastal fog contributes to the overall process to keeping ecosystems alive.

Now, when it comes to the negative sides of fog, Western Geographic Science Center writes that, “fog decreases visibility, causing airport delays and accidents.” That is the only negative side to fog. When it comes to foggy chapters of our lives, the most difficult aspect may not be what it is that we are walking through, but it’s the fact that we can’t see. We can’t see the other side, we can’t see the end to all of this. And, it’s exhausting. But, that is where faith steps in. I heard it put this way once, the opposite of faith isn’t fear or doubt. But, the opposite of faith is sight. Like many of you, in 2020, I faced some situations that filled me with a lot of fear. During one of my morning runs, I was praying about this fear I was experiencing and God spoke so clearly to me. He reminded me that faith is not the absence of fear, but it’s choosing faith despite those fears. It’s choosing to trust God with the unseen, with that which we cannot understand.

My favorite verse of all time which is also the unspoken theme verse of my devotional is 2 Corinthians 4:18, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Sometimes, the foggy chapters of our lives ends up producing some of the greatest blessings in our lives. While we all experienced loss, pain, and many frustrations last year, there were also victories. After the morning fog lifts, and as we move forward in 2021, I believe we will get to witness answered prayers and promises unfolding in our lives and our communities that wouldn’t have happened without the fog. While it is a new year, I am not naive to think that this next year will go without unmet expectations, disappointments, and difficulties. But, I am filled with so much hope.

The Hebrew word for hope is tikvah, which comes from the root qaveh, which means to tie or bind. In reading Megan Fate Marshman’s book, Meant for Good, she writes on this subject. “The Hebrew word that means rope comes from this same root. The idea here is that hope is a rope that binds us to a solid object. This is what the writer of Hebrews is getting at in Hebrews 6:19 which says, ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.’ We know the end of the story, that the end is love and restoration and victory.”

When we live our lives in surrender to the King, we understand that we are exactly where we are meant to be, and in the end, it is all for His glory. My prayer is that despite the difficulties of 2020, God’s glory would be revealed in our individual stories, of which these stories make up the whole of the church.

As C.S Lewis writes, “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” (I couldn’t start off 2021 without a C.S. Lewis quote) This well quoted quote is often spoken of with great optimism for the future, for whatever we are believing for here on earth. And, while we can use Lewis’ words that way (just goes to show we can twist any words to make them into what we want them to be), Lewis actually wrote these words in a letter to a woman who was on her death bed. Now, these words hold a different meaning, for he was writing of the glory to be received in the world to come. It is a hopeful anthem to the the Christian. These words fill us with tikvah, with hope for the eternal, instead of the temporary pleasures of this life.

After the morning fog lifts, I hope you and I realize what all of this is for. God truly does work all things together for our good, for His glory. So, that one day, others may come to see the glory of God, in a far better world than the one we are in. With open hands and a willing heart, my hope is that we enter this year in expectation for God to continue to reveal His glory in the earth. In my life, in the unanswered prayers, in the difficulties, I want God’s light to shine all the brighter. There is so much goodness in store as we surrender our hearts and put our trust in His plan and His ways. I am ready for all that is in store in 2021, and most of all, for the joy it is to get to be part of His growing church.

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