Of course, SMOG, as Los Angelinos know all to well, is short for a combination of smoke and fog. And for now, at least, East Tennessee has had something in common with Southern California.
It has all been a result of the proverbial perfect storm. Fall weather, normally dry to begin with, has been exasperated by a very long drought. This, in turn, has produced any number of forest fires, especially in the national forests which abound in our region.
When combined with cooling temperatures, which brings on fog this time of year, we have found ourselves facing a period of around two weeks of an abundance of fog and smoke together. The result has been an air quality rating in the “Red Alert” range.
In truth, it has been so bad that the local weather advisories have strongly encouraged everyone to stay indoors – especially those with cardio-pulmonary disorders. Even those of us who have been blessed with relatively good health have suffered from irritating and itching eyes, if not scratchy throats.
Indeed, one day this past week, it was so bad that, looking across the mile-wide valley from where I work to where I live, a view that is normally crystal clear, it was literally impossible to see beyond a quarter of that distance.
And then, all of a sudden, the weather changed!
While we have had no rain to speak of, the wind nonetheless began to stir. In what amounts to a minor miracle, westerlies from Nashville and beyond have now brought amazing relief. The fires may still be burning in the parks; but the winds are at least carrying the smoke over the mountains into North Carolina and beyond.
As you might imagine, the results have been palpable! And this leads me to my point...
A generation ago, Johnny Nash had a number one hit single in which he sang the following lyrics:
“I can see clearly now, the rain is gone;
I can see all obstacles in my way;
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind;
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright),
I love these words because they remind me that, in nature, darkness eventually gives way to light; pollution eventually gives way to cleansing; and confusion eventually gives way to clarity.
Now, what is true in the natural world can also be true in the spiritual world!
Indeed, as I stood this afternoon peering across the above mentioned valley, with a clear view resulting from the bright illumination of the newly unimpaired sun, I reflected upon a spiritual truth.
You see, in God’s scheme, because of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, spiritual darkness can eventually give way to light; spiritual pollution can eventually give way to cleansing; and spiritual confusion can eventually give way to clarity.
I know this because of the testimony of the one who was born blind in the New Testament Gospel of John (chapter 9, verses 13-41). It was he who said, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
I also know this because of my own testimony; for, like the hymn writer of old, I can boldly declare as follows:
"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see."
Is your life full of darkness? Is your life full of pollution? Is your life full of confusion? Then look to the One Who alone brings light, the One Who alone brings cleansing, the One Who alone brings clarity!
If you do, your perspective on the world will change dramatically. As will your perspective on eternity!
LYRICS SOURCE: http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/johnny_nash/i_can_see_clea
HYMN SOURCE: http://www.constitution.org/col/amazing_grace.htm.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/niv/john/9.htm.