Monday, December 17, 2012


I'm currently reading Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. Manning's Abba's Child was an incredibly influential book in the development of my faith and also provided me with a quotation that I ultimately had tattooed on my arm, a constant reminder of grace, the thing I should be most grateful for in my life and the thing I should also be most willing to give freely. Ruthless Trust seems to be just the right message at the right time in my life, much like Abba's Child was at the time. Manning's writing is beautiful, truthful, humble and hewn from pain and an intimate knowledge of brokenness and grace. This anecdote has been in my head for days:

"When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at "the house of the dying" in Calcutta, he was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life. On 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 voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the United States: "Pray that I have clarity."
     She said firmly, "No, I will not do that." When he asked her why, she said, "Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of." When 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.""

As human beings, we crave clarity. Whether it be reasons or explanations for the events in our life, or whether it be the affirmation of being told, "Well done, my good and faithful servant," we have a deep need to know with some degree of certainty that we are headed down the right path. For those of us who choose to believe in God, He is the most profound, unimaginably comprehending being in our life. Therefore, it is from Him Who we most greatly desire clarity.

I have heard the voice of God before. It was not a booming voice in the dead of night. It has been an ethereal feeling I had when going about my day to day. It has been the smile of families in a poor neighborhood. It has been a deep knowing peace. It has been a series of events constructed that led me to know I was in the right place. It's been not hearing with my ears, but hearing with my soul and mind an inaudible but penetrating voice.

I've been listening for the voice of God a lot lately and I haven't been hearing much. Part of the reason I have been listening so closely for him because I have been waiting for confirmation that I have made good decisions. Like John in the preceding story, I want clarity. I, and I think many others like me, relate God's silence to failure. We see God as a father who is often disappointed in us and whose stern, wordless looks confirm our failures.

This is not God. God is a loving father who shines light on us simply through turning his face in our direction. His radiance is so great that we're best off if we can only see His back. A mentor advised me that God is just silent sometimes and these moments provide us with opportunities to build our trust up in Him. Sometimes God speaks to us and sometimes He trusts us to live life for His Glory. The very least we can do is return the favor. Seeking clarity is putting the cart before the horse. If we yearn to seek implicit and enduring trust in God, clarity will come.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


No, not the story by Ayn Rand. For better or worse, sometimes songs just resonate with me. I heard this song about a billion times and it never really did much for me. On the billion and first, though, it became my anthem. I'm not quite sure why I love it so much, but I do. There are a couple lines that I think a lot of us can identify with from time to time. Just try turning it on loud and not singing along and dancing. Fast forward to the two minute mark to get to the music.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Perspective Change

There are many facts in life, some are good and some are bad. Regardless of their nature, we must accept them. However, we have a choice which ones we would like to embrace and allow to shape our countenance. It's best if we embrace the good.

This song came on the radio this morning. I've heard it dozens of times. There was something different about it this morning. I've always heard it as a statement of devotion and commitment to another person, a love song to which we do not know the end. Today, the message was different. As I drove down the road singing the lyrics, I chose to view it as a prayer to God. I think it's better this way.