I recently came across a story about the brilliant ethicist, John Kavanaugh. While he was at a point in his life where he was trying to decide how to spend the rest of it, he took a trip to Calcutta to visit Mother Teresa. During one of their times talking together, he asked the aging nun if she would pray for him, that he would have clarity to make this decision. Her answer surprised him when she said it and surprised me when I read it. “No, I will not pray for that,” she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, clarity of vision, clarity of mission, and clarity of purpose, Mother Teresa just laughed. She responded with, “I have never had clarity, what I have always had is trust.”
Trust has become a big word in my vocabulary lately. I’ve always heard about love, hope, and faith, but in the past year trust has become the main one God is teaching me about and the main one I’m needing right now. Brennon Manning said, “Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope . . . Trust is the preeminent expression of love. Thus, it may mean more to Jesus when we say, ‘I trust you,’ than when we say, ‘I love you.’”
Often in my own life, I have prayed and begged for God to speak in regard to direction or a decision I had to make, and spending hours worrying if I’ve made the right one after the choice. I now truly believe that God would rather have our trust than our perfect record of decision making. Perhaps God doesn’t have a mapped out plan for us, hoping we make every right decision along the way. Rather, what if God wants us to make decisions out of our own intelligence, logic, opinion, and even creativity? Then, in His beautifully artistic way, does he orchestrate His glory to be expressed in our lives. This new way of thinking has not only opened my eyes to the majesty and creativity of God, it also set me free from the mindset that God is just giving orders and hoping we follow them.
So many of us worry and fret over decisions when, I don’t think, God is as concerned with the right choice as we are. I’ve actually come to consider it arrogance that we think we can ruin The Almighty’s desires for our lives by our wrong actions. The Apostle Paul repeatedly wrote that decisions he made were what seemed best to him. This is from the man who understood that the real majesty and power of God is how He, “works all things for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Paul doesn’t seem to waste time worrying about the right decision because of his deep trust in the Father. He trusted God to steer him if he started veering off course, which God did several times with dreams or a prophetic words.
I encourage you, just as Mother Teresa encouraged Kavanaugh, to let go of your need for clarity. Desire for clarity is purely a fleshly one and is rooted in our desire for control. Rather than trying to understand and conquer what life brings you, yielding to simple trust in the Father seems to be true Christianity lived out. Trust that God loves you, trust that God wants good things for you, and trust that he knows best. I’ll close with one last thought from Brennon Manning,
“The splendor of a human heart which trusts that it is loved gives God more pleasure than Westminster Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven’s Night Symphony, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, the sight of ten thousand butterflies in flight, or the scent of a million orchids in bloom. Trust is our gift back to God, and he finds it so enchanting that Jesus died for love of it.”
For further reading on Trust, see: Romans chapter 8; the book of Job (particularly chapter 13), Ruthless Trust by Brennon Manning, and Trusting God by Jerry Bridges