Tag Archives: God

Trusting God In The Fog

fog‘Trust in him at all times, you people;
 pour out your hearts to him,
 for God is our refuge.’
Psalm 62:8

Life has thrown me a few curve balls of late and sometimes it’s hard to know what the next steps should be. I am confused! Sometimes, I confess, it’s hard to stay motivated to make any steps at all, but I know that I must.

Life is often uncertain and unpredictable. We may face major questions about our health, the health or wellbeing of our loved ones, our homes, our livelihoods, our finances or our church.   The certainty is that we cannot avoid uncertainty in this life. We can however respond to it in a way that honours Christ.

Searching For Clarity

The ethicist John Kavanaugh tells of a time in his life when he was searching for direction regarding his future. He left the United States and went to Calcutta to work for three months at the house of the dying”.  The first morning there, he met Mother Teresa.  She 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 responded by explaining that he had come thousands of miles to find direction: “Pray that I have clarity.”

She said firmly, “No, I will not do that.”  When asked why, she said, “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 and said, “I have never had clarity; 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 often an expression of our insecurities.  We would rather seek to understand the complexities of the road ahead than seek to become better acquainted with the wonder of God’s character.  Clarity can sometimes be spiritually counterproductive. It short-changes trust, a life of faith and a moment-by-moment dependence on God. Clarity could even become an idol that replaces real trust in God.

In Hebrews 11, we are reminded that trust is strongest when clarity is dim. Noah built an ark whilst waiting 120 years for a deluge.  Sarah was told to trust God for a child in her old age with no comprehension of how it could possibly happen.  The innocent Joseph waited in prison for 2 long years with no sense of when or if he might be released. Abraham went out, “not knowing where he was going”, and then thought he might have to sacrifice his own son without any clarity as to why.  There are many such stories, but they all demonstrate that faith flourishes only when we trust God more than we trust in our need for clarity.

We often want to “chart the course”, but the Bible tells us to walk in the Spirit.  We insist on a strategic plan.  Jesus says, “Follow me.”  We want all the answers.  The Lord tells us to trust Him, because of what we know to be true about His character.

Pray for Faith To Seek & Follow God’s Lead

Do you feel that you are in a fog? I do. Have you been there far too long? Yep! Does the present moment feel shaky while the future is unclear? Indeed it does! I, and perhaps you too need to remember that He is God and that He rewards those who seek after Him (usually without clarity).  Looking behind, we are familiar with His faithfulness and goodness, even when we did not see it at the time.  God’s character has not changed. We can still trust Him, even though the fog is dense. In God’s strength, I will keep moving forward and I hope that you will too, but as I step out, I will do so with my hand placed firmly in the hand of the one who knows exactly where we are going – the hand of Jesus Christ! Sometimes, He might have to drag me, but I know that He is not going to let go!

Perhaps it is time to pray that we will search less for clarity and more for the character of God because…..

‘Faith, not certainty, is the most important ingredient to a life pleasing to God’ (Heb.11:6).

 

Jibing At Sea…

rope-828817_1280

Monique is an accomplished sailor from Brittany. She set out from the Canary Islands over 2 years ago and has since been sailing around the world. She has called in at various ports along the way and during this time has, amongst other things, learned to surf, skateboard and sledge.

The world has too few well known female rôle models, so I am pleased to be able to say that I am in awe of Monique.

I am particularly in awe of her because people said that it wouldn’t work out. After all, she started her journey as an inexperienced sailor on a 39 foot yacht heading out into the vast unknown! People said that she just wasn’t cut out for that sort of journey or that sort of life. They said that she would find it far too stressful and that she would be much better off spending her life doing something ‘normal’ and more in line with her natural talents and abilities.

I know they say that you should never meet your heroes, but I would like to meet Monique…..

because Monique is a chicken…a hero chicken….

….a hero chicken who has been travelling round the world with a human called Guirée Soudée. Soudée has found, contrary to many peoples expectations, that Monique has been the ideal sailor companion for him. Whilst only eating rice and corn (plus the odd fish) she actually provides him with freshly laid eggs at sea. In addition to this, Monique provides him with company, entertainment and, says Soudée, ‘Compared with people, she doesn’t complain at all.’

Sometimes, we box ourselves in. We tell God that he can’t use us in this or that way because we are just not cut out for it. Perhaps we think that we are not experienced enough, gifted enough, eloquent enough, knowledgeable enough, old enough, young enough or whatever. Maybe we think that we are just too shy or perhaps too mouthy!

God can work in and through anyone in any way he likes!

God may assign us a task that is far beyond our power or resources to accomplish. Perhaps only then will we turn to him for the power, the knowledge, the skill and the resources that we need. Let’s stop focusing on our talents, abilities and interests to determine God’s will. Instead, why not seek God himself and just watch and wait as he equips us for whatever assignment He is wanting to accomplish in and through us.

When we tell God what we can’t do, we are actually saying more about our faith in God (or lack of it) than we are about our own abilities. Either God is all powerful or he isn’t. If He is all powerful, then we do not need to question our ability, strength or resources to complete His assignments. He will equip us to accomplish all He calls us to do.

Be like Monique…….I’m sure she never questions the call on her life or her abilities to fulfil the task.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36475672

*Tacking more than 180 degrees to avoid a jibe (usually in harsh conditions) is sometimes referred to as a ‘chicken jibe.’

So, you want to be great for God?

A New Year thought that I believe really matters…for me at least! Over the past year, I have heard a number of people say that they want to give their lives to achieve great and significant things for God. That’s probably very worthy. However, it could potentially smack of wanting to be promoted to a position of importance in the Kingdom of God. Surely, the greatest, most significant thing that any of us can do is to humble ourselves before the Lord, seeking to be totally available and obedient to Him. That will help to ensure that our desires are Christ centred, not ‘us centred.’

The Methodist Covenant Prayer reads:

I am no longer my own, but yours.

Put me to what you will,

Rank me with whom you will;

Put me to doing, put me to suffering;

let me be employed for you

Or laid aside for you, exalted for you

Or brought low for you;

Let me be full, let me be empty,

Let me have all things,

Let me have nothing;

I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things

To your pleasure and disposal.

And now glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours.

So be it.

And the covenant now made on earth

Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

It’s not an easy prayer to pray, but it is a prayer of deep humility and a prayer of utter abandonment to God….and isn’t that where we should be? Whether we may be laid aside or exalted…..God is still God and His love for us does not differ one iota whether we are busy doing things for him or whether the most we can manage is to just let ourselves be ‘beloved of the Lord’!

Certainly, we can be sure that when God is looking around for those to whom he can entrust leadership, he will be looking first and foremost for those who are both available and obedient.