There was a period of time in my life that I was very interested in studying Civil War history — its battles in particular. I would look at the story of a battle and wonder why General X didn’t do “y” instead of “z”. Aside from being young (not to mention unsophisticated in military strategy and tactics), I didn’t understand a very basic concept: “the fog of war”.
“The fog of war” refers to the inability of even the best commanders to fully understand the battle situation before them and to respond with the best orders. The commander receives conflicting information, one subordinate gives a well-reasoned recommendation that is the opposite of the recommendation of another subordinate, the battle develops in ways that no one predicted: the chaotic pressures of battle blind the commander to what is really happening.
Right now, we find ourselves in a similar sort of fog. We have information from those who predict that our situation will become worse than anything we’ve ever experienced; and we have information from those who believe all of the predictions are completely overblown. For those of us in the Information Age who have been confident in our ability to process information and come to the best solution, this is a very difficult time. Too much certainty in one’s own opinion is probably foolish and stubborn, considering all that is taking place. With respect to our Christian faith, though, certainty is not a terrible place to be.
The call of Abram in Genesis 12:1-4 is a poignant moment:
1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
God gave very little information to Abram when He called. He, in effect, told Abram to root up his life and trust Him with it. We know the rest of the story. Abram became very wealthy but he also experienced profound difficulty and hardship. Abram, who later became Abraham, was faithful to God in the fog of his own time. Some of the best advice I ever received was from a retired clergyman who spoke with me after the Hurricane Harvey flood. He said, “You don’t have to figure everything out. Your job is to be faithful.” My job is to be full of faith, trusting God with St. Thomas’ and with our ministry. This is the job — or may I say, privilege — of us all.
We couldn’t have conceived of these times just a couple of weeks ago. In the midst of the fog of these uncertain times, we find it difficult to see. Yet, we have a Light in this fog. We have the Light of Christ; we have the Light of His Gospel. Our calling is to live in faith to Christ (Rom. 1:17) at all times, not just when we are in the fog. Our circumstances right now teach us again what we already know. A path born of faith might present itself in the near future. It might call us to heights of faithfulness that we have not yet seen. Keep an eye out for Light in the fog.
Lord, give us the eyes of faith to see it. Give us the discernment and insight to trust it. Give us the hope and courage to follow it. For the sake of Him who died and rose again for us, our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
by David Browder