There’s a story told of Mother Teresa, that a man once asked her to pray that he would have clarity – that he would see God’s will plainly. And she shook her head, no, she wouldn’t.
“I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust,” she said. “So I will pray that you trust God.”
Most of the time I think that’s just plain crazy.
If you give God that much, you won’t have anything left. You take one, two steps back, and you’re out on the edge of the cliff. Essentially, you’re going out on a limb for God.
But there’s no such thing as going out on a limb for Him, because He stretched both His arms out on a limb and died for me.
Back in Africa, nearly four years ago, I told God straight up that I wasn’t choosing Him; it was too risky. I’d rather have my little house in Scotland and my ten children and a garden and all that than walk blindly, by faith, and not know where I would end up.
Some days I still say that to God. I’m ashamed of it.
When He tells me to not reply to an email, and it sits there smoldering in the inbox, waiting to be replied to – I think He’s crazy. In my head, I’ve written and sent it already, and it addresses the issue poignantly and resolves it and why doesn’t He want me to write it?
When He tells me to open up a door I’d closed all on my own, and it’s going to tear down everything I’ve got and take all my strength to boot, I think He’s crazy – because I close doors where I know I’ll be tempted to do the wrong thing, and I only did it to protect myself. I plead with Him: “Lord, if I have to live with this, my identity is at risk, my reputation is at risk, my wise decision-making goes out the window… I can’t.”
And then I have to go and surrender all the deep parts of me to Him, because when I haven’t got any more walls to keep me safe, He’s the only thing left that will.
Half an hour later, standing in the snowy street, I’m still not sure – and I cup my mittened hands in front of me, trying to catch all the strength He’s giving me, and only catching wet snowflakes.
I don’t know what He’s doing when He makes me give up all the little things to Him. I’m sick of waking up in the morning already exhausted, knowing the battle I’ll have to fight with my flesh in order to surrender.
The books pile up, and the homework assignments are overdue, and still I fight. I’m waiting for some peace, eventually, maybe. I’m sick of fighting, I’m tired of fighting, it’s all my own fault –
– and you know, he doesn’t care whose fault it is. He just wants me.
I open up my Bible this morning, and it’s the story of Abraham and Isaac, the sacrifice on Mount Moriah. And Abraham named that place the Lord will provide.
His very presence shows that He is active. He is providing.
“Worry is belief gone wrong,” writes Ann Voskamp. “Because you don’t believe that God will get it right.
“Peace is belief that exhales. Because you believe that God’s provision is everywhere – like air.”
“And your God reaches out: I will provide Me.”
quotes taken from The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp; Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 2013.