Tonight I volunteered to run to the grocery store for Peggy. It was dark and as I headed out of the driveway I plunged headlong into a fog that almost completely prohibited my visibility. Now, this is Tillamook and we’re not talking major thoroughfares here, so I proceeded. I could see just a few feet ahead of the car which made driving somewhat terrifying (that, and, Snort City is really scary in the dark when totally encased in fog). As I drove I had a few thoughts.
While the driving felt treacherous, the reality was that I could always see just enough in front of me to be able to continue. And I thought about how this is what the life of faith often feels like. I reflected on this once before when I described what it is like to go down the back staircase at our apartment in the dark. Even when you know that there is either a light that will come on at some point (like when I reach the bottom of our stairs), or, like my night drive in Tillamook, that while you may not be able to see much of anything around you, you can see just what you need to see to get where you are going, what we can’t see can paralyze us.
We often act like life with God should not be this way. We wish for perfect visibility in our faith life and we seem surprised and, at times, even offended when the path is dark and we are forced to creep slowly down the road. As I drove home from the grocery store, I thought about this. If we are frustrated that life with God is too often like a soupy Tillamook road, what would be our desired alternative? A faith reduced to simple formulas of cause and effect?
Don Bryant left a comment here a few days ago that touched me. He wrote: “Looking back now (Iâ€™m 57), I donâ€™t think so much about what did or didnâ€™t work out. I reflect more on how the themes of my life surfaced so God could deal with me and I would quit running and come up with another scheme that would save my life.” I think that Don shows a knowledge of a God who is ultimately a God of relationship; a God not of formulae but of love. I appreciated Don’s words and they made even more sense to me after my little jaunt to Safeway tonight.