The What and Who of Meandering About

Friday, February 25, 2011

In the Face of Uncertainty

Each and every day we face uncertainty.  It seems to be waiting around every corner and hiding in the darkness of every room.  We fight it with all of our might.  With jaw set and fists clinched, we stress and strain hoping that through our own effort we can turn that uncertainty into certitude making clear all that was once unclear.  At the close of another battle with this unseen foe, we realize that this fight is unending.  It seems that uncertainty will always be there.  Life's edges will always appear hazy and unclear.

Yet, our hearts continue to burn for clarity in life.  We long to know exactly what we will face around life's next bend.  We want to know that our actions today will positively impact tomorrow's outcome.  Therefore, we try to project and plan the unclear and uncertain out of our lives.  We pray that their grip on our mind might finally be broken. 

In his book Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning tells of a man who went to spend three months working with the sick and dying in Calcutta with Mother Teresa.  On his second morning there, he met Mother Teresa.  She greeted him and asked, "And what can I do for you?"  (Can you imagine that - Mother Teresa asking what she can do for you?) 

The man replied, "You can pray for me." 

She then asked, "And for what should I pray?" 

The man said, "Pray that I might find clarity."

To his astonishment and dismay, Mother Teresa smiled gently and said that she would not do that. 

When he asked her why, she said, "Clarity is the last thing that you cling to that you must let go of."  When he told her that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed to have, she smiled again and replied, "I have never had clarity, but I have always had trust.  I will pray that you trust God."

Life's unquenchable thirst for certainty and clarity satiated not by effort or through planning but with a relentless trust in a sovereign God.

In what we call the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. "So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today" (Matthew 6:31-34 - NRSV).

I pray that none of us receive the clarity for which we long.  Rather I pray that all of us learn to trust in the One who will never leave nor forsake - a relentless trust in a sovereign God.

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