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  • Writer's pictureBrandon 'b.Side' Alvillar

How Contentment Causes Comfort: A lesson learned on a foggy day

Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers [were] as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, [saying]: ‘[For He is] good, for His mercy [endures] forever,’ that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.” - 2 Chronicles 5:13-14

A man in a boat lost in the fog in the ocean of Moro Bay California
Because Of The Cloud

I took this photo at Morro Bay, California. I went there to try to capture the iconic rock formation that’s located there, but as soon as we got there, the fog rolled in and covered everything like a blanket! Cara and I had been hiking before we got to this spot, so we were hungry. We grabbed some calamari to snack on quickly. It wasn’t quick enough. The mountain I went to shoot, disappeared in that short time! Within about six minutes, the giant rock formation that was only about three hundred yards away, was nowhere to be found.

 

At that point, the day way too good to let the weather bring me down. I wasn’t going to get the shot that I wanted, but it was a cool opportunity for Cara and I to just relax and hang out to watch the fog. While there, we happened to see two older photographers putting their cameras away. They were bitter! Apparently, they were hoping to shoot the rock formation also, but were really discouraged by the fog. While they packed up, I could hear one of them say, “You can’t shoot anything in this mess.”


Challenge accepted…

 

When those men were complaining about the fog, the competitive side of me kicked in, and it made me think. Did the fog really take away all of the good photo opportunities? The photographers left, and while Cara and I were sitting and watching the fog, I happened to notice this one guy on a tiny boat. With the thickness of the fog, it looked like he was floating in space. I couldn’t even make out all of his form. He was mostly just a dark shadow surrounded by white mist. You couldn't see the horizon at that point. I thought it would be a great illustration of eternity. But after editing the photo, I had another thought. This is where I learned about how contentment can cause comfort.

 

Think about this idea: Is this guy lost in the abyss, in despair, without direction? OR, is this guy engulfed in the glory of God’s covering like when the LORD filled Solomon’s temple?

 

Personally, when I saw this guy heading out into the fog, I thought he was crazy. I thought for sure, this was an easy way to get lost and invite a bad situation. Then I thought about it, and realized, this guy knew what he was doing, which means that there’s another way to look at this situation. It’s not just despair. It’s not just gloomy. It’s not just being lost. For this guy, it meant something else.

 

The fog made me think of the time when Solomon dedicated the temple to the LORD, and it was filled with His glory, that was physically manifested as thick dark fog. The priests in the temple were terrified, and couldn’t see well enough to do their work. Think about that though. Should being consumed by the presence of the LORD, bring us despair and fear? The presence of God should be a comfort, right?

 

We all know there’s usually at least two ways to see things. We can be negative, or we can be positive. If we have the mind of Christ. We can grieve the Spirit. Those are the options for us as Christians. When I took this photo, two men walked away, frustrated and bitter. In my case, I happened to be content to sit there and enjoy the time with my wife, and in the process, the LORD revealed this cool photo opportunity that has a very cool Biblical principal attached.

 

When circumstances close in on us, and make it hard to see what’s coming ahead, we can feel lost in the abyss. That makes it hard to follow the LORD. Still, He promises to never leave or forsake us. When the fog seems too thick to see and understand where we are, there’s two ways we can look at it. We can operate in fear and despair, questioning our position and purpose. In that case, we can get bitter about stuff, like those other photographers, and leave an opportunity on the table. Or, we can accept the situation and chill. We can remember that we’re always engulfed in the bosom of the Father, because of the life, death, resurrection, ascension of Jesus, along with the future hope and guarantee of His return.

 

The funny thing is that, I didn’t do anything special to get this photo. I was just content in the moment, which kept me planted in the position where this cool opportunity was ultimately revealed. The LORD did the work. I didn’t know that a shot like this would come, or that any shot would come. I just wanted to wait and see what He might do. This is what He did.


In all honesty, this photo isn’t going to change lives. It isn’t going to be featured on Time Life magazine. Still, it was an intimate moment that the LORD created to teach me something about Himself; and now I get to share that with you. THAT’s what He wants to do when He engulfs us in His presence. It’s not always as profound as it was at the temple Solomon built, but being engulfed by God’s presence brings a quality of joy, peace, and fulfillment that is sweeter than anything else on earth!

 

When you look at this picture, what do you see? A man in trouble because of the fog, or a man at peace because the fog allows him to do something purposeful in it?


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