As we were driving the other night in Utah County, I noticed the air was thick. The sun was late in the sky and illuminated the fog as it began to settle in at the base of the mountains. Along with the fog, the smoggy air trapped by a temperature inversion blocked the view of the mountains and gave the air a brown, hazy, cruddy look. I couldn’t see very far in any direction, and what I could see was dingy and dirty. (My brother used to describe temperature inversions in Provo as “living inside a ping-pong ball” – a beige ping-pong ball at that.)
A few hours later were were back on the road, and everything was different. Night had fallen, The air was crystalline. The visibility was endless. We could see the lights from the houses on the far side of Utah lake. We could see the spires of temples shining in the distant night sky.
A brisk wind had picked up and effectively pushed all the fog and junk out of the valley. With the inversion gone, the air was clean and fresh.
“That was easy!” I thought. The more I thought about how quickly the fog/smog had lifted, the more I marveled at the power of Mother Nature, (God’s power) to drastically change the condition of something as big as the sky with a simple breath of air.
As if to make the point of God’s power resonate stronger with me, a small earthquake hit just a few hours later. Point taken.
Here’s where the metaphor kicks in, but it might not be what you are expecting.
Yes, we can be surrounded by fog, and, as Lehi would put it, “mists of darkness” as we move through mortality. Everyone is impacted. President Jeffrey Holland referred spoke to the universality of the mist of darkness in Lehi’s dream:
“This reminds us that when those mists of darkness enveloped the travelers in Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, it enveloped all of the participants—the righteous as well as the unrighteous, the young along with the elderly, the new convert and seasoned member alike.” (link)
My point is not that we all must work our way through the fog and mist of darkness, even though that is true.
What occurred to me as I was driving through the clear night was this: God has the power to eliminate the fog with a simple breath of wind He also has the power to completely eradicate the fog from our lives, and from the world – if He felt like it.
• He could have Moroni, Mormon, Joseph Smith and President Nelson hold a press conference and show the world the gold plates.
• He could have President Nelson bring a working Liahona to the next General Conference and show us how it works.
• Simpler still, God could lift the veil of forgetfulness from all of our minds for just five minutes. That is all it would take, and the world would understand.
It appears that God is okay with the fog. He allows the mist of darkness to swirl around us, which can only lead to this conclusion:
The fog is intentional. It is not fleeting, meaningless or just something that happens to bad people. It is real, it is universal, and it is part of our mortal existence.
The battle then, is not necessarily to question the fog, or even try to understand the fog. Rather, our job is to keep pushing through the inevitable fog by following the Lord’s instructions on how to do it.
President Boyd K. Paker taught, “The mist of darkness will cover you at times so much that you will not be able to see your way even a short distance ahead. You will not be able to see clearly. But you can feel your way. With the gift of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way ahead through life. Grasp the iron rod, and do not let go. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way through life. (See 3 Nephi 18:25; D&C 9:8.)” (link)
The Lord has provided the tools and teachings to help us get though the fog, and we have been taught all of our lives about how to emerge victorious through the fog.
My simple point is this: The fog is inevitable. God has the power to dispel it, but He chooses not to. The point is not to have a “fog-free” life, but to develop and walk by faith in the midst of the mist.
So, maybe instead of cursing the fog as the thick mists swirl around us and threaten to obscure our vision, remind ourselves that God is aware, and that He is allowing it. Instead of cursing the fog, maybe we should just give it a shrug, a wink, or a nod of understanding – or, if you feel like it, a Mockingjay salute.
Then we tighten our grip on the Iron Rod, listen for the Holy Ghost, and keep pushing forward.
- Photo credit to my daughter, Emily. She took this picture at Bryce Canyon. She posted it on Instagram with the following caption:
“This is one of the lovely viewpoints at Bryce Canyon–a viewpoint I’m trusting to be beautiful, although I didn’t get to see much from this particular viewpoint this particular visit. And here I’ve been today feeling upset with God and whatever His plan is for me (I’m not the only one who has felt this, right?) and I stumble upon this photo and feel a little more hope that I can keep trusting God and trusting for that fog to eventually clear.”
(It is worth noting that one week later, she met the love of her life…)