The story is told of John Kavanaugh who went to India to spend some time serving in Calcutta with Mother Teresa. The trip came at a turning point in his life when he was seeking God’s direction for the future.
It seems that when he met with Mother Teresa, John Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for,” she asked. So he uttered the request that was uppermost on his mind, the reason he had traveled so many thousands of miles from home.“Clarity. Pray that I might have clarity.”
To his surprise, Mother Teresa refused. “I will not do that,” she said. “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and the last thing you must let go of.”
But surely Mother Teresa had found clarity in her many years of serving the poor and dying in Calcutta. She laughed at that suggestion. “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you will trust God.”
Simple, clear and very biblical.This life is often confusing, and sometimes it is downright bewildering. Just when we think we’ve got it figured out, everything turns upside down. Any “clarity” we have doesn’t seem to last very long. If we have to have “clarity” going forward, we’re all going to be stuck where we are for a long time.
There’s a big difference between faith and clarity.The old song sings," I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. I can see all obsticals in my way." Clarity is what we want.
The old hymn sings, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey. Faith is what we need.
(Hebrews 11:1-3) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (NAS95)
(Hebrews 11:6) And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (NAS95)
Hebrews 11 doesn’t say “By clarity” Abraham went out, but “by faith” he went out.
(Hebrews 11:8-10) By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (NAS95)
Stop clinging to clarity and pray for the grace to start trusting. Following Jesus isn’t always an easy road. Sometimes the way forward is clear; sometimes it isn’t. But each step taken by faith brings us another step closer to God.