Forty-eight years ago, my new bride and I moved onto a college campus outside Knoxville, Tennessee. Set among the hills along the banks of the French Broad River, the beauty of the area and the clarity of the blue sky easily awakened the mind and excited the senses. It was a seemingly ideal location to study and prepare for a life of Christian ministry. Nearly thirty years later, we built a home nearby, on the same ridge above the river. Today as I write this post, the bright sunshine, colors of the leaves, sightings of wildlife, and view across the French Broad are inspiring.
Soon after classes began in 1972, we encountered days when the fog would settle around the campus making it difficult to be excited about walking up the hill to a 7 am class. We have experienced the same dense, disorienting fog often settle through the mountains west of Asheville, NC and north of Knoxville. There continue to be occasions when fog becomes sufficiently dense that drivers on Interstate highways 40 and 75 can become discombobulated.
The circumstances of life can become similarly disconcerting. Occasions where events and emotions converge, leaving us floundering for understanding and hope. Events such as the death of a family member leave us hopeless. This is demonstrated by the words of Martha and Mary to Jesus upon the death of Lazarus. “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21 and 32) The presence of Jesus could overcome terminal illness and provide hope for them, but not the finality of death. As the days before the Passover were approaching, Jesus told his disciples, “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas revealed the confusion of the disciples as he said, “No, we don’t know, Lord. We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14: 3-5) Both were events when life provided more fog than light.
However, there is hope for clearing the fog of life just as the sun warms the air and dissipates the fog on the hills. This hope is in the person of Jesus, the “I Am” of God. In Jesus’ own words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is the lens through which we are to see life around us. He is the lens through which we are to evaluate and understand the events of our days.
Jesus is the lens through which we can know the truth.
The ability to know “truth” may seem obvious, but it isn’t. One of the significant contributors to the fog of life is the belief that truth is relative and cannot be objectively known. A fundamental change in human thought grew out of the 1960’s called “postmodernism.” While the theory as a movement has dissolved and morphed into other theories, its effects are inextricably intertwined into how people view life some 60 years later. Truth, knowledge, meaning, and morality are now generally believed to be culturally constructed concepts. It is widely held that objective knowledge/truth is simply unattainable; therefore, it is not to be pursued.
With no objective truth upon which to base our lives and actions, we are left to wander through life as in a dense fog, never seeing, experiencing, or understanding our surroundings. Without objective truth defining reality, we are left as powerless objects reacting to events. Rather than living a life with purpose, we simply rebound from events, much the same as a pinball bounces from the bumpers of a game.
Jesus emphatically tells us this is not the case. Jesus not only reveals truth, he IS truth.
If we view the events of the world through Jesus, we will understand the central truth that God is in control of history. There will be moments of confusion. We may not know the truth about particular statements. Individuals may not possess sufficient evidence to determine the veracity of a claim or assertion. However, we will be able to view the overarching theme of all events as they transpire. We have all of God’s Word at our disposal. We need not wander through days and events confused, because we do not see the reality surrounding us. We can view events, cultures, claims, and individual actions through the reliable record of God’s Truth!
Specific events may send our proverbial head spinning. We may be left wondering whether we are facing left or right. We may find ourselves bewildered, as individuals and societies announce that language means something different than ever before. We may grow frustrated as concepts which have been known, and held to be true for centuries, are declared to be wrong. However, we can fix our eyes upon Jesus. He will reveal that which is true. The light of God’s glory always burns away the fog of confusion. May clarity and beauty awaken and inspire us!