Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. —Psalm 62:8
Prayer is the most tangible expression of trust in God. —Jerry Bridges
I used to say that we live in uncertain times. While I still believe this is true, I am starting to conclude that we all live uncertain lives.
While God’s truth and our eternal destiny in Christ are certain, many other factors in our journey are quite unpredictable and unclear. It is the nature of the battle.
I suppose today, as you read this, you face some measure of uncertainty. You may face major questions about your health, your job, your finances, your children, your grandchildren, your church, or someone in your circle of friends. Clearly, we cannot avoid uncertainty in this life, but we can respond to it in a Christ-honoring and soul-profiting fashion.
THE SEARCH FOR CLARITY
I recently read a profound interchange between the renowned eth- icist John Kavanaugh and Mother Teresa. He tells of a time in his life when he went to Calcutta to work for three months at “the house of the dying.” This experience was part of his heartfelt search for direction about his future. His first morning there, Mother Teresa asked, “And what can I do for you?” Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him.
“What do you want me to pray for?” she asked. He explained that he had come thousands of miles from the U.S. to find direction and asked her to “pray that I have clarity.” She said firmly, “No, I will not do that.… Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.”
Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for.
She laughed. “I have never had clarity,” she said. “What I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”
CLARITY VS. TRUST
There is something in all of us that wants clarity. It is part of our sinful ego and a common expression of our insecurities. Clarity can become an idol that replaces authentic trust in God. In many ways, we would rather understand the details of the road ahead than rest in deep intimacy with the God who has promised to direct our steps.
God has never promised to show us a detailed ten-year plan. Clarity can actually become spiritually counterproductive as it short- changes trust, a life of prayer, and moment-by-moment dependence on God. Certainty can actually breed complacency in our passionate pursuit of the heart and mind of God.
Scripture tells us, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8). Yes, we must pour out our hearts and all they contain, including praise and gratitude as well as worry, fear, doubt, and uncertainty. God is our in-the-moment refuge, but not always a divine GPS system, announcing the details of every turn we might encounter one year down the road. Thus, we must open our hearts wide in prayer and trust Him at all times. We should never assume a life of trust or take God’s refuge for granted.
In the Epistles’ great faith chapter, Hebrews 11, we are reminded that trust is strongest when clarity is dim or nonexistent. Noah built an ark while waiting for 120 years for an unprecedented rainfall. Sarah was told to trust God for a child in her old age with no clarity about how such a thing could happen. Abraham “went out, not knowing where he was going” (verse 8) and later planned to sacrifice his own son with no clarity about why he was called to do this or what the outcome might be. The stories are extensive. The truth is unmistakable. Faith flour- ishes when we are trusting God at the deepest level, with a willingness to let go of our insistence on clarity.
We often want to chart the course, but the Bible tells us to walk in the Spirit. We insist on a strategic plan, but Jesus says, “Follow Me.” We want all the answers, but the Lord tells us to trust Him because of what we know to be true about His character. He calls us to an inti- mate knowledge of Himself as our confidence and security.
FAITH TO SEEK AND PLEASE GOD
Friend, as you go through uncertain days, realize the gift you’ve been given. The prayer of faith, not certainty, is the single most import- ant ingredient to a life pleasing to God. (See Hebrews 11:6.)
Do you feel like you are in a fog today? Have you been there far too long? Does the present moment feel shaky while the future is unclear?
Remember, God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, usually without clarity about the details. Looking back, we see His faithfulness and goodness, even if we did not perceive it at the time. He has not changed. You can trust Him now, even though His way seems ambigu- ous. Prayer is trust on its knees.
A few years ago, I discovered a song by a Christian musician named Jadon Lavik. The lyrics offer deep encouragement:
You wake up to find that you’re right where you’re supposed to be—trapped in uncertainty. Each day’s a mystery. You wake up to find that you’re right where you’re supposed to be. The past is unveiled and you see you’re right where you’re meant to be.4
We’ve heard it said often, but must live it obediently: when we can’t trace His hand, we can trust His heart. I pray our hearts will likewise search less for clarity and more for the character of God as we draw near to Him in the unpredictable seasons of our journey. Join me now as we express our trust in our God who never fails.
Excerpted from “21 Days of Deeper Prayer: Discover an Extraordinary Life in God” by Jim Maxim with Daniel Henderson, © 2020 by Jim Maxim. Published by Whitaker House, New Kensington, PA. Used with permission. All rights reserved. www.whitakerhouse.com.
Free audio prayers found here: www.acts413.net/deeperprayer