When it's foggy - put your headlights on low beam!
What strange times we find ourselves in!
I thought I might just put a hold on the ‘Addiction series’ I have been running with, simply because it would be inappropriate not to address the predicament we all find ourselves in with this Covid-19 virus that has brought the world to its knees!
Wasn’t it amazing how quickly things changed?
One moment I’m on my way to the UK for the Ellel International Executive Leaders meeting… next minute I’m hurriedly changing flights to get back home before Australia closes its borders!
Upon returning, I had to self-isolate for 14 days. (The team very kindly set up Room 36 at the end of our Motel Units, behind the Conference Hall here at Ellel Sydney – God bless ‘em). Although I’d love to report that those two weeks were a blissful time of peace and quiet… it was quite the opposite! It became a manic period of multiple e-Meetings every day, discussing ways forward with my other Ellel Sydney leaders, or international leaders. And it seemed every decision we’d made the day before became irrelevant 24 hours later as Government restrictions kept changing! Eventually we just felt God nudging us to simply stop - especially when He gave us a specific scripture as a ministry which strongly suggested we needed to “pause”.
So, in obedience, we have closed down our Centre for at least four months, which will take us up to the end of July. Government regulations may yet have a say regarding whether we can or cannot re-open in August, but for now that is not for us to worry about. The more pressing question has been trying to grasp exactly how Father God wants us to spend this time of “social isolation” in which we find ourselves? It may well be a question you’ve been grappling with too!
No doubt for many of you, there could be possible job losses, the stress of having kids at home due to school closures and being stripped of all the normal ways we operate.
These times certainly contain enough disruption to surface our insecurities, make us a little more anxious… and perhaps lose the ability to see the way ahead?
Recently, I was driving home after dark having picked up some take-away for my family. I turned a corner on Menangle Road, and was surprised by the first fog of the Autumn season!
It caught me off guard, and I had to immediately slow down and drop the lights back to low beam to see better and negotiate the road safely. I recall pondering at the time how counter intuitive it is to go to low beam at night in foggy conditions to ensure you see more clearly!
Later that evening my phone ‘pinged’, alerting me to a new blog entry from Thom Gardner from Restored Life Ministries in the USA. Thom is a great friend of this ministry and a good friend personally. His blog title immediately caught my attention with the caption “Driving in the Fog”! How uncanny is that, I thought?!? I suspected Father God may have been weaving a golden thread here, and had a message waiting for me. So, I opened Thom’s blog…
In that article, he addressed this deadly worldwide pandemic with some great wisdom. His words helped me grasp what God was trying to show me through my own ‘driving in the fog’ experience. So, I’d now like to steal from Thom’s analogy to share something with you that I believe is helpful in this present trial.
Thom likened this pandemic to experiencing a disorienting fog that has robbed us of the ability to see too far ahead. He also reminded us that there is no certainty as to when this fog would lift and went on to unpack a story about his own dad giving him a driving lesson many years ago in similar foggy conditions.
Basically, that experience for Thom became a lesson in patience.
Driving in heavy fog requires you first slow down because your vision is severely limited. Heavy fog demands that you grip the steering wheel firmly, and lean forward peering into the translucent mist, straining for a clearer view.
In Thom’s story he recalls hearing his dad say: “when you drive in the fog at night, you will be tempted to put on your high beam lights, but that will actually cause things to be worse”.
The fog reflects the brighter lights back into your eyes, making it even harder to see ahead. Thom’s dad wisely suggested that he slow down, and leave the lights on low beam, so the dimmer headlights could shine under the fog and extend the view of the road ahead. That wisdom from Thom’s dad has stayed with him, and it’s very good advice for any of us to heed when a heavy fog sets in and the road ahead becomes unclear.
I know that at this present time I have felt pressured to ‘put on the high beam’ and race ahead trying to anticipate what is coming further down the road, or around the next bend, with very little foresight available.
But the Lord has called me out on my impatience!
I believe the Father’s word to me (and possibly many of us in this time) is simply this… with the “heavy fog” we find ourselves in now, our Heavenly Dad just wants us to slow down.
He is offering us an opportunity – if we would recognise it - to drop back to low beam, and drive at a slower pace, paying careful attention to all that is right in front of us.
In other words, let’s not look too far into the future… or try not to get too far ahead of ourselves by strategizing every move. Let’s learn in this season to trust Dad’s advice and look to see who is actually right in front us. Maybe pay a little more attention to those closest to us? Possibly spend time investing in your own family; or connecting with others via a phone call, Skype or FaceTime with whomever God is placing on your heart.
But it is also a time for some self-care.
I believe God may be providing a window for us all to experience a time of sabbath rest.
Coincidently (or not), John Eldredge’s latest book Get Your Life Back is turning out to be very prophetic at this time.
Joanne and I have been reading it together during this ‘pause’. It has proven to be quite the wake-up call! If you struggle with being driven; or find it difficult to slow down; or feel guilty for not producing as much as you feel you should be, then this book just may be of great benefit to your heart. I need this book in this season for my own heart! I highly recommend it to you as it will lead to a deeper experience of sabbath. You can find it here.
I’m beginning to see that Father God can achieve so much more through me when I enter true sabbath rest, than I ever could by working harder and faster. My attempts to “accelerate blindly into fog-ridden corners with high beams on” are beginning to feel less attractive.
Sitting quietly, I found myself reading this bible passage, which spoke to me afresh (Isaiah 30:15): -
I have needed to say sorry to God for being someone who “would have none of it” i.e. be still and quiet at this time, and not allow the Sovereign Lord to be my strength. My Heavenly Dad has been revealing this to me through things like Eldredge’s book, Thom’s blog, my own experience of driving in the fog and the subtle rebuke of Scripture.
I have to admit I’m a bit slow. But it’s starting to sink in. It’s time to put into practice that often-found salutation interspersed into many of the Psalms - the word ‘Selah’. Selah means to pause /reflect/ponder what God may be trying to say.
To steal from Thom one last time:
“At the risk of being redundant, switch to low beam… and slow down”
Take advantage of this opportunity provided by a Holy God to just pause and reflect… and let Eldredge’s book help you.
You will be so glad you did.
Until next time,