The Fog of Obedience

Published by Brian Hershey on

I’m sure you’ve heard of the fog of war, but have you ever experienced the fog of obedience?

For twenty years Jacob worked for his conniving uncle, Laban. As the relationship deteriorated, God spoke: “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” (Gen 31:3). In obedience Jacob gathered his belongings and set off.

But the journey was anything but safe. Rachel stole Laban’s household god which invited an invasive “pat down.” Had God not intervened Jacob risked losing everything.

No sooner than putting that conflict behind him, Jacob ran into his twin brother, Esau, along with 400 men. For all Jacob knew, Esau had nothing but murder in mind.

In the first setback, Jacob is attacked from behind. In the second, a full on frontal assault awaits. Sometimes trials comes in waves.

“Lord, I’m doing what you asked! Why isn’t this journey going more smoothly?” are questions that likely ran through Jacob’s mind. Can you imagine the stress…and confusion!

There is a gap between Jacob’s expectations and his present set of experiences. Can we camp out there for a second?

Maybe you’ve been there.

  • You sense God leading you to a particular college only to meet professors who rock your faith and dorm mates who challenge your convictions.
  • You honored the marriage bed prior to and after saying your vows, yet you struggle with infertility while single women experience unwanted pregnancies through casual hook-ups.
  • You have labored long and hard toward achieving a specific goal only to have it shuttled by circumstances completely outside your control.

If you have had any kind of substantive walk with Jesus, I have not doubt you’ve experienced the fog of obedience.

Obedience to God is not the path of least resistance. Quite the opposite! The truth is God often leads us into situations that unearth our guilt and expose our fear.

Rather than respond in bold, courageous faith, he reacts in great distress and fear (Gen 32:7). God doesn’t want Jacob to return to his old ways of manipulation and deception. He must come to a place of total surrender. 

That’s where Jacob eventually lands. “I am unworthy. Save me. I am afraid.” (Gen 32:10-11)  

It’s a good place to be. But often the journey there can only come when the expectations we tend to associate with obedience are at odds with our present experiences. It can be disorienting.

  • Pray in faith to God anyway
  • Surrender everything and everyone.
  • Rest in his peace.

Somehow, in our surrender God is honored and glorified. Then, the blessings of faithful obedience come, and the fog is lifted.

May God give you the grace today to soldier on in surrender even if your present experiences do not appear to match your hoped for expectations.

Brian Hershey

Brian Hershey currently serves as the Campus Life Military Senior Advisor for the Greater Omaha Youth For Christ chapter in Omaha, NE. He holds an undergraduate degree in education, a Masters in Theology from Dallas Seminary, and 20 years of youth ministry experience. He and his wife, Bonnie, have been serving military teens and families since 2001 in Bad Aibiling, Wurzburg, Heidelberg, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and Kaiserslautern, Germany as well as Naples, Italy.


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