“My Lord God I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.”
The writer of this prayer, Thomas Merton, was a dedicated monk, who often struggled with himself and with God. At times, he was uncertain about his calling. But that is what makes his prayer so profound. You identify with his struggle, which prepares you to accept his solution.
“But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
His desire to please God in all that he is doing. His desire to walk in God’s path even though at times he’s unsure where that path will lead is one part of the solution. The next part?
“Therefore, l will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
Trust: Merton’s trust is that God will lead him on the right road even though he may not know it at the time. Desire and Trust: Two critical components in our walk with God.
“I know God has a plan and will lead us through these pandemic challenges. We will come through this a stronger church with a more passionate faith and willingness to spread His word. He wants us to learn from what we experienced and use it to further spread His word, to be more faithful and to fully live by His example.” (from a recent email I received)
“Where are we going?” I’m not sure. “What is the road ahead?” I don’t know.
What I do know is churches are discovering new mission fields for Biblical teaching and ministry. Every week I hear or read about people connecting or reconnecting with God whether in person or through the internet or social media.
“This has been on my heart. My parents and my son and his wife have “small groups” as part of their church. They are active and connected to their small groups and it has made me want to be a part of something so relational and spiritual. My parents talk about doing Bible studies, fellowship and holding each other in prayer. My son talked about questions they discuss related to the sermon. I was wondering if this is something that would be beneficial.” (recent email)
Several weeks ago, a young woman in our church with COVID-19 and pneumonia was in the hospital fighting for her life. Someone approached me about offering a time of prayer for Prayer: Desire and trust her and others. He suggested doing it through our Zoom connection. I put the word out and the next night, a group of us met to pray for her and for others. We met for maybe 30 minutes at the most. Afterwards several people told me that we should do this regularly.
Does this provide a surefire formula for surviving COVID-19 or changing our deep-seated cultural and political divisions? No, but by surrendering my will to God’s control, I trust Him to ultimately lead me in the right direction.
Are you wondering whether you are following God’s will? Are you questioning whether you are in fact the person God has called you to be? Your desire to walk in God’s path even though at times you may be unsure where that path will lead is part of the solution. The other part is to trust that God is leading you on the right road even though you may not know it at the time. Trust God always. Do not fear because God is with you. You will never face your perils alone. Amen.
Larry Davies is pastor of Mineral United Methodist and Mt. Pleasant Methodist churches in Louisa County.
For Comments and Questions: LarryDavies@ PrayWithYou.org