You’re standing at the cross roads of a big decision. The last thing you want to do is make the wrong choice but it feels like your prayers for direction and clarity are going unanswered by God. Here’s why that’s a good thing…
Trust vs. Clarity
” Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths “ – Proverbs 3:5-6
As a young Jesuit priest, Rev. John Kavanaugh was desperate to discover his life purpose and calling. So he decided to pack his thing and move to Calcutta for a year of prayer and missionary work. While there he met Mother Teresa
And asked her to pray for him to receive clarity. But she refused, saying “clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of. I have never had clarity, but what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God”.
Probably not the prayer that Mr Kavanaugh had hoped for.
Pay attention and you start to notice that this particular prayer; one for clarity and direction, is a popular one. Especially amongst younger Christians. We’re in a time of transition, where every decision we make feels scarily monumental, from the people we date, to the colleges we apply to, the majors we pick or places we decide to live. It’s a time we face a lot of big questions about our future, and the last thing we want to do is make the wrong decision. So we pray for direction, for clarity. We stand at these cross roads and we want God to hand us the map so we can feel a little more in control again.
But the truth that Mother Teresa had worked out, is that it’s the times when we most want clarity, that we most need faith.
Because it’s the overwhelming, significant choices, the times we have no idea what to do, that allow us to lean on God with a whole new level of vulnerability. Nothing strengthens trust quite like blindness. Someone who knew this well was Abraham. When Hebrews 11 describes how he left his home for land that God had promised – land he couldn’t actually be sure existed – it doesn’t say he went with “certainty”, but “faith”. By a trust in what he could not see or prepare for.
“Abraham had faith and obeyed God. He was told to go to the land that god had said would be his, and he left for a country he had never seen. Because Abraham had faith, he lived as a stranger in the promised land” – Hebrews 11: 8-9
Now, just because God wants us to trust in him – it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. I know that I went many years “trusting” in God, as I prayed “God have your way… as long as it’s the way I want to go… and just in case I’ve got plan B, C, D…”. Because blind trust is scary! It’s unknown and uncomfortable because as Romans 11:33 reminds us, God’s decisions and ways cannot be understood. But this also means that – if we give him enough space to work – the future He’ll create cannot be imagined. He has a future waiting for you that is beyond your wildest hopes or plans. I don’t’ know about you but an unimaginably adventurous future sounds like a pretty good one.
Not just because we get to wait expectantly for the life that God has designed for us, but with a relief that is found only through trust. While scary at first, when you truly let go of your earthly will, when you give Him your life and its plans, he also takes your anxieties, your fears and your failure. You can sit and rest in the truth that the Creator of the Universe is in the driver’s seat, and if anyone can handle that, it’s Him.
The choice is up to you. You can live a life of clarity. Of small-minded goals and predictable paths. Or you can live a life of trust. A life of thrilling spontaneity, lead by a clutch of adrenaline in your gut and a light relief in your heart.
All you have to do is let go.
The Power of Trust: An in-depth study of Proverbs 3:5-12 by Bill Johnson from Bethel Church
How Trusting God Can Transform Your Life: Article from Joyce’s Action Plan, Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits.