Although I have visited Sweden many times over the years, I have never had the pleasure of a holiday here. Since arriving in West Sweden last Sunday with Marilyn and our two youngest children we have been blessed in many ways. The fact that the pace of life has slowed to a very leisurely amble has probably helped us to see things we might otherwise have missed. Who would have thought that cramming four people into a tiny holiday chalet on a Swedish campsite could be a blessing? But it is, especially as we have lived without most of the paraphernalia of our usual routines, and in much closer company with each other.
Of course, it helps that the weather has improved since our arrival, and that the last three days have been warm and sunny. We have kayaked together, walked together, explored together, spent time on the beach together, and even for some strange reason visited a Swedish IKEA store together.
Yesterday we walked as far as we could around the foreshore of the promontory that juts out into the fjord from the campsite; then we came back via forest paths that made us think that we had been transported to Middle Earth. It took a long time to make our way around the shoreline. Why? Simply because there was so much to see and discover. Small jellyfish swimming close to the rocks, crabs scuttling, fish swimming, empty mussel and oyster shells – evidence that the birds feed well in these parts. We found wild flowers and Christmas trees growing in the strangest of places, bees and butterflies, beetles and other insects. Add in the stunning scenery and it is difficult not to be overwhelmed by the beauty of God’s creation.
This morning it is different. Dense fog has cloaked everything, and I cannot even sit on the verandah because everything is soaking wet. Even if I could sit outside I would be unable to see the sea, the promontory, the forest, or anything other than the neighbouring chalets. If it had been foggy since we arrived we would have missed out on the stunning beauty of this place, and we wouldn’t have been kayaking or exploring. At this moment it is hard to believe that any of it exists because it is all obscured by fog.
There are times when it seems as if God is shrouded in dense fog. We find it difficult to convince ourselves that He is there, because no matter how hard we look we just can’t see anything. The usually obvious is suddenly hidden by a mist that stubbornly refuses to lift. We know God is there, yet no matter how hard we try, we just can’t see Him. In times like this I know that I need to stop and reflect on all God has done for me. How easy it is to lose direction when the fog rolls in.
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29 NIV)