“Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: ‘My father was a wandering Aramean…’” (Deuteronomy 26:5, NIV 1984).
Philosopher John Cavanaugh visited Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying for three months in the 1970s. It was a time in his life when he was seeking direction from God for his own future. He was given the opportunity to have an audience with Teresa and asked her to pray for him.
“What would you have me pray?” she asked.
“Would you pray that God would give me clarity?”
“I can’t do that,” she replied.
“Why not?” John asked.
“I have never had a day of clarity in my life,” she said. “What I will pray for you is that you will learn to trust.”
Clarity or trust?
My two-year-old granddaughter loves to play in my study, but if the lights are off, she will stop and say, “Turn lights on, Doc.”
When we were children, many of us were also afraid of the dark. Some of us still are.
As humans and especially as doctors, we like to sort out where we are going before we make the next incision, offer the next treatment plan or decide where God wants us to work for the next 10 years. Our world is broken down into data and probability factors. We evaluate what we can see, make the best judgment based on our observations and then choose how to act. Emergency surgery on a traumatic belly is far more anxiety-provoking than a planned cholecystectomy. We prefer to know what we will find before we explore.
Unfortunately, this carries over into our faith life. It is difficult for me to make a directional decision in my life when I am not sure where it will take me. If I can’t see the future clearly, I become frustrated and anxious over my next step. Even though I seek God’s will the best I can and trust him to carry it out---I still can’t get over my fear of the dark.
When I read God’s word, I see him saying over and over again, “Your understanding of my will is not nearly as important as your wanting of my will and your trust in me as you step into the darkness.” That’s what Abraham’s call to be a “wandering Aramean” was all about: his total trust was the very foundation upon which God has led his people through the centuries---even to the foot of the cross, even to my next decision.
Lead me into the darkness, into your arms.