Mist Genesis 2:6

There went up a mist from the earth.—Gen_2:6.

If you searched the world to find people who really and truly like mist I expect you would discover very few. You would not find many even in Scotland, where they have plenty of misty rain. Yes, few of us like mist. It hides the world from us; it makes us feel choky and damp and depressed. We seldom see a boy or a girl dancing and skipping down the road on a misty day as they do on a sunny one. Even the birds seem less lively.

Did you ever wonder what mist is and how it is formed? Well, mist is just water—tiny drops of water. The sun draws up the moisture from the earth and the sea and the rivers. It draws it up in the form of water vapor, which is really a transparent gas and so invisible to us. But when the air gets cooler, as at sunset, the water vapor turns into mist much in the same way as the water vapor that comes out of a boiling kettle turns into steam when it strikes the cooler air of a room. Sometimes this mist stays above us in the form of clouds, sometimes it comes down to earth.

Now we haven’t lived very many years in the world before we find that there are mists in life as well as in nature. There are sunny days when everything seems to go right, and there are misty days when everything seems to go wrong. There are things that are hard to bear or difficult to accomplish, and we don’t see the use of them. There are troubles that seem to surround us on every side like a mist. We cannot see through them, and we begin to wonder if there is any way out. I want to speak to you about some of these mists today.

1. First there are the little mists we can rise above. These are the small frets and worries and annoyances of everyday life. A great deal of time and energy is wasted in turning these slight mists into impenetrable fogs. If you have to learn a difficult lesson, any amount of wishing you hadn’t to won’t help you. If you have to go to the dentist, well, you just have to, and worrying about it beforehand won’t make it any nicer. If you have broken a favorite toy or lost a favorite knife, fretting and regretting won’t mend matters. If someone has spoken a cross word to you, that is no reason why you should break your heart. They are most likely suffering from indigestion. Just be nice to them and see what happens.

In the midst of a great political crisis Mr. Gladstone was once asked by a friend, “Don’t you find you lie awake at night, thinking how you ought to act, and how you ought to have acted?” And Mr. Gladstone replied, “No, I don’t. What would be the use of that?”

If we could just make ourselves think like that, then we could rise above these annoying little mists of everyday life.

A lady once went travelling in Switzerland. She lived mostly in the towns and villages, but one night she slept in a chalet half-way up a mountain. When she wakened in the morning she found herself in a wonderful world. Above was the beautiful blue sky, all round was the morning sunlight, but beneath was a thick carpet of mist. It filled all the valley and shut away entirely the villages below. She felt as if she were in a world of her own, up there with the blue sky and the sunlight and the snow-capped mountains.

And, boys and girls, that is the best way to deal with our small worries. If we can get up into the sunshine, if we can learn to look on the bright side of things, then we shall find that all these little disagreeable mists are in their right place—beneath our feet!

2. And then there are the mists that make things beautiful, the bigger mists of real trouble and hardship and difficulty. They don’t seem beautiful at the time, these mists, but they leave a rare beauty behind them.

Have you ever looked round you, when the sun came out after a thick mist? The world was turned into a wonderful fairy palace. Each blade of grass carried a diamond, and the spiders’ webs sparkled with jewels of many colors. And “Old Man Mist” had done it all with his magic wand.
When the roses droop and the daisies swoon
For song of the summer rain,
His presence comes as a gracious boon
O’er valley and field and plain;
Whenever the folds of his tent swing wide,
At eve or the grey of morn,
The hills are glad and the mountainside,
The meadows and fields of corn.

Full softly he comes with stores untold
And scatters his treasure rare—
Life for the blooms of crimson and gold,
And jewels beyond compare;
But hidden always from blaze of light
His wonderful deeds are done,
Under the cloud and out of the sight
Of the fervid glow of the sun!
(B. F. Leggett, “Old Man Mist.”)

And it is the same with the mists of life—they make things beautiful. They grow beautiful characters. It is generally the men and women who have had to fight against the greatest difficulty who have made the biggest and noblest name for themselves in the world; and a good old man once said that the things he could spare least from his life were the things that at the time he found hardest to bear.
Once two friends were discussing the difficulty they had in growing, in their English gardens, some wild blue gentians that they had brought from Switzerland. The first man told how he had tried over and over again and had always failed. Then the other man related how he also had tried repeatedly to grow the flowers in good positions and had always failed. “But one day,” he said, “I planted a root and made a gravel path right over it. And—would you believe it?—it grew and flourished!”

Boys and girls, the fairest flowers of character grow and flourish under difficulty and hardship. So don’t lose heart if the big mists of trouble come down upon you. Remember there is beauty beyond the mist.

3. Lastly there are the thick impenetrable mists which God alone can clear away.

God hangs a mist between us and the future, but He does it in mercy. If we saw our whole path in life our hearts might fail, but God gives us just one day at a time. The rest He hides in mist.

And God sometimes hangs a mist between us and the things that happen to us here below. We cannot understand many of them now, but some day He will clear away the mist and then all will become plain.

A good old man, one of the Principals of St. Andrews University, lay dying. He was looking out on a Highland loch where lay a thick mist, and this is what he said, “It is very misty now, but it will soon be perfectly clear.”

It is often misty now, boys and girls, but it will be perfectly clear in the morning when the sunshine of God’s presence will dispel all the mists of earth.