God wants you on the right path!
By Alan Wright — March 29, 2019
God wants you on the right path more than you want it for yourself!
Today’s Text: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, ESV)
A dear brother told me about his friend who served for a year at Mother Teresa’s ministry in Calcutta. Toward the end of his tenure there, the young man finally had a few moments with the saintly little woman.
“How can I pray for you?” Mother Teresa inquired.
“I’d like God to give me clarity about my life,” he responded.
He was caught off guard by what Mother Teresa did next. She spontaneously threw her head back in laughter. After she composed herself, the nun responded: “Clarity?” She chuckled again. “Clarity? Ah, my child, I’ve had very little clarity from God. I cannot pray for you to have clarity. But I do have a lot of trust. I’ll pray that you have more trust in God.”
Early in my Christian life I was on a quest to discern God’s will for my life but underneath my search were two false assumptions: 1) I assumed that I needed to gain some spiritual skills or acquire a mystical gift in order to rise high enough to discern the Lord’s will; 2) I assumed that God would give me wondrous clarity about the journey ahead. Neither was true.
As we learn in Proverbs 3 (and from Mother Teresa) discerning the steps ahead is much more a matter of trust than it is gaining clarity from God. The Lord delights to take an otherwise crooked, confusing journey and make a straight path for you. You don’t have to climb up a spiritual ladder to the heavens in order to discern God’s will. God is more committed to guiding you than you could ever be to following Him. What He enjoys in us (and what He can most use) is our trust in Him.
Thirty years ago, I was like the young missionary intern in Calcutta, I longed for clarity. But, looking back on it, I realize that much of my craving for clarity was actually a lack of trust. My longing to know the path ahead proved that I had little trust for the journey ahead. Over the decades I’ve come to trust Him more. And, in hindsight, I realize that He’s always given me enough information for the journey but not so much revelation that I didn’t need to keep holding His hand. Trust and discernment are inseparable. You can trust Him. He (not you) makes your paths straight. And that’s the Gospel!