By the time I encountered the third skunk, I was ready to return home.
It was early morning, and I was taking my usual walk. Behind our house were rolling pasturelands and hilly roads, which made for good cardio workouts. Heavy fog had rolled in during the night and sight was limited. Finally reaching a breaking point, I noticed a precarious situation-a nearby skunk strolling through the pasture. I hurriedly crossed to the other side and continued back into the fog. Shortly, the fog lifted again. Another skunk appeared. Again I crossed the road and rushed on, catching sight of a third skunk.
The fog made it difficult to see what could have been a smelly situation and reminded me some days just stink. I imagine Job felt the same. God and Satan were making a wager on Job's faithfulness while Job was living in the fog of ignorance. Satan was asking permission to test Job. He felt Job only loved God because He was so good to him. God knew Satan was mistaken but allowed the test anyway. So Satan went to work.
Suddenly Job was afflicted by some putrid days. He lost his children, possessions and health. His wife encouraged him to curse God and die. After listening to his fair weather friends insinuate his troubles were self-inflicted, Job maintained he would trust God even if He killed him.
Job learned the art of doing what a later writer classified as walking by faith not sight (II Corinthians 5:7). Faith is formed and matured in the fog. Seldom are we given details ahead of time. God’s plan is usually understood only in reverse, and Job’s story reminds us there are plans we may never be privy too.
But God wagers we will come out smelling like a rose, not a skunk. And we will, if we trust Him by faith even when experiencing the fogs of doubt, uncertainty, mistrust, fear and anxiety. Our faith can flourish in the fog.
Dear Lord, when the fog of the unknown engulfs us, strengthen our faith so we may see clearly to trust You.
Dr. Martin W. Wiles is Pastor of First Baptist Church, Harleyville, SC, author of two devotional books and former correspondent for the Baptist Courier. He and his wife Michelle have a devotional ministry called MorningLiteMinistry.