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I was driving to church on Sunday. The fog was thick. So thick you felt the dampness in your lungs the moment you walked outside. I couldn’t see far. I couldn’t breathe deep. The sun was just beginning to peak over the horizon–not that I could have seen it. Visibility was awful because of the blanket of damp darkness.

Have you been stuck in fog before? Real foggy mornings make me want to crawl back in bed under my covers. Fog can be more than a weather phenomena. Too often a fog can cover us emotionally. Life is hard. Sometimes it is really hard. We have all been through times when the fog and funk of life covers us like a wet blanket. We can’t breathe deep. We can’t see clearly. Discomfort and irritability take up residence in our bones. And it seems as though every ball we have to balance bounces in the wrong direction. I hate fog. It is suffocating. And it keeps me from seeing the beauty that is all around me.

As I was driving to church in the thick fog I got to experience the joy and delight of watching the sun burn away the fog. It evaporated as sunlight broke through the trees and around the curve of the road. In the presence of the sun I could see the beauty. In the presence of the sun my stress released. This is what we celebrate in Epiphany. Jesus is the light of the world. His light burns away the clouds. He breathes life into us again. And we can breathe deep in his presence.

I wish that knowing Jesus meant we would never experience foggy mornings again. From our perspective, it would be great to never be covered by the cloud of grief, the fog of hardship, and the shroud of sadness. It is easy to wish that the shroud of sorrow never covered our days. But it does. Moments, days, seasons of sadness and darkness set up camp in all of our lives. This reality has made us all ask at one time or another–Why Lord? The logic makes sense. If He is indeed the Light of the World–why is there darkness? Why does the fog come?

As I look back on the hardest days and seasons of my life there is a consistent pattern. It is during these times that I grew the most in my faith. It was here that I was taken outside of my comfort and learned that letting go of control was safer than trying to hold it tight. It is in reflecting on these moments in my life that I am convinced of, not only the existence of our God, but of His presence in my life. I’d choose the good times 10 times out of 10. But, in careful reflection, I know that my growth has been the most significant during these times in the fog. And seeing the Son lift the fog into the light of a new day is truly remarkable.

Final point is this. Jesus as the light of the world is more than about just shining on me. The light of Jesus shines around us so that His beauty is revealed. It is by Him that we are able to see clearly and fully. The training of our faith is about gaining eyes to see more clearly. And seeing is only possible because of the Light.

May the Light of Christ burn away the fog that surrounds you. And may the Light also remind you that His presence in the fog is His growing ground.

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