Sunday, December 29, 2013

Trust > Clarity

Mother Teresa once said, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust.” and I read those words over, and over again. Listening...thinking...learning.

I have never had clarity --- what I have always had is trust.

Chuckling--- I laugh to myself because i know, there have been times i thought i had clarity, but then it always flew out the window liked a winged bird... and then the chuckling stops when i measure the trust meter i've parked at for all my sunrises. i know i've not always put enough coins in that slot. 

Don't we always seek clarity? Am I the only one in the q-line for “answers”. We want to know the plan. We want to see the road map before we pack the car, right? The only way we'll know what to pack is if we can know where we'll be going and what the weather will be like when we get there. And in our age of internet with instant answers ---- shouldn't we be informed?? We can do a quick internet search and within a minutes know the projected weather for the day in Nairobi-Kenya or Cades Cove-Tennessee. We can know --- so why shouldn't we.

But then life rolls us into places where there are no clear answers, no definable solutions, no projected outcomes, and clarity is lost. What do we do then?
For we've allowed ourselves to be lulled into a sense of believing if we manage the input, we can control the outcome.
Walk into any emergency room in the world ----- and the look on the faces there will say, “we couldn't control the input... and therefore we are not able to manage the outcome... we need help.”
We work to control inputs...
we feel almost irresponsible if we don't.
After all ---- sometimes we can control outcomes by planning, organizing, managing, and preparing.

The lady who knits can control the results of her fastidious work if she prepares, plans, and works with steady hands.
The mechanic can control the condition of the motor by replacing filters, renewing fluids, tightening plugs, etc.
The mother can control what her children eat for dinner by planning, shopping, cooking.
The employee can control the bosses approval by following the rules, doing the work, showing up early and staying late.

Some of us love to control. It feels sort of ….... safe.
But are we called
Really --- 

And what does "control" have to offer to the legless woman begging on the street this morning or the mother of six begging at the gate today ... when there is no amount of input or planning or management or effort that will ever control the overwhelming need.

And how many times do we turn away from the very thing we might have been born to do ---- just because we couldn't get clarity on how to manage or control it...
Are we addicted to safe?
Are we resigned to only touch the input button of life if the outcome button is producing guaranteed results?

One of my clearest memories as a young woman was sitting on my grandfather's porch as he answered my many questions. The world disappeared from around us in those moments.
He never once acted like he was wise. But he was... and God knew the little girl in front of him had lots of questions.

“Pop, if God is so good, and if He is the WAY, then why did He let men like Paul suffer so much?”

The memory is as close as yesterday's air, I was questioning the wisdom of believing and obeying something that had landed a man with beatings, mob-violence, imprisonment, and shipwrecks (just to begin the long list of persecutions Paul endured). So I went to the wisest man I knew --- the one I believed to be the most honest --- who would tell me the truth without judging me for asking.
He looked at me and said, “That's a good question, I'm proud of you for asking donna. Because you see it was not just Paul who suffered for following Christ, there were and are so many more. Look at the 12 disciples who lived with Christ ---- it seems that all of them suffered painful deaths for the furtherment of the Truth, save one. John died of old age we believe... but all the others died as martyrs.”

“Pop, it sounds pretty cut and dry to me ----- following God is not a smart investment of my life.”
He smiled as he paused and allowed me to hear my own words.
Then he said words that have never left me.

“Your life, your existence, has two parts to it donna. The first part you are living now. The second part will come after you die. You get to have really, really GOOD days, but they will be mixed with some really, really bad days. No one can avoid this. Everyone has two parts of life and everyone has good/bad days. You can't change those facts no matter how hard you try, how rich you are, how powerful you become, or how sweet you choose to be. They are set and unchangeable.
“But here's what you can control...

You can have it really 'good' during your days here on this old earth if you want. You can live it up big. You can work to make lots of money and then spend it on all the things you want, the things that will make you 'happy'. You can live where you want to live and do what you want to do. You can love who you want to love and hurt who you want to hurt. You can have it all your way and eat all the chocolate cake you can hold for the rest of your life... but then the second part will come. And if you've lived the first part all for yourself... the second part will be hard. If you've not lived for Christ in the first part, you will wish for all the second part that you had.
But then there's another option.
You can choose God's ways in the first part --- live for Him, obey Him, let your heart break for what breaks His heart, let Him and His ways lead you while laying yourself and your ways down... and life here on this rolling ball will be very challenging on many days. People won't like you very much, they'll say bad things about you and talk you down ---- if you're not joining in with their crowd and doing what they're doing. You'll find yourself in hard places, doing things for other people you never would have chosen --- but you'll know you're right where you're suppose to be. You can give God the first part, and He will carry you through. You'll still have days of goodness, but you won't be the one controlling when they come or how they look. You'll know --- when it's good, it came from God's hand to you. When it's bad, lean into Him and you'll make it through. But donna, for those who choose God in the first part ----- the second part is filled with Heaven. God promises that if we give Him the first, He will amaze us in the second.
“The first lasts a few years --- maybe 80 or so … but the second part lasts for all eternity.

That's the truth of it donna.
You can throw out the Bible along with all that God business and live it up your way.
Or you can do it like some half-in-half-out“Christians” do it. You can hold the Bible in one hand and your ways with the other hand. You can say you love God with your mouth but love yourself most with the way you live. You can do all that and more for the short first part ------ but then the eternal second part will come, and you'll get no do-overs. You'll receive in the second part what you earned in the first.

Then he said, “donna, to simplify it, you can have it great in one or the other... but not in both. And God is good enough to let us decide which way it will be.”

“So Pop, the disciples have it good now ---- but they didn't have it so good when they were where we are... right?”
“That's right donna. They didn't choose to die painful deaths, but how they died was so much less important than how they lived. They didn't want many of the things that came their way. Even Jesus was honest with us when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and asked if God would find another way.
“But when God gave no other way, Jesus chose God's way over His wants.”

Pop prayed with me before I left him that day.
As I drove away, I rolled it all through my inner-most self. Still do today.

Pop's words, “You can have it great in one or the other... but not in both... and you get to decide that part.”, well those words make more and more sense every year that passes by. Combine those with Mother Teresa's words, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust.”
There's rich wisdom buried there.

I may not have clarity, but I know i'm trusting the One who is in control of this first part and will carry me through to the second part.

The little cares that fretted me,

I lost them yesterday,

Out in the fields with God.
(author unknown)

©2013 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe


  1. oh my. this has so much to mull over in it, and so much i'd like to share with the His time. i am grateful you let what you're mulling over spill onto pages and be shared.

  2. in light of what you shared here and what i read yesterday, i think God's trying to say something: