Success without presence

Feb. 22, 2020

Scripture Readings

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.”

We easily conclude that those early encounters the disciples had with Jesus would have resulted in a rock solid trust in him, but sadly we know this wasn’t the case. They saw thousands fed with only five loaves and two fish that miraculously multiplied, yet still they doubted. They saw Jesus walk across the Sea of Galilee, in the midst of the storm, yet still they doubted. They saw all kinds of people healed by simply touching the hem of his garment, yet still they doubted. 

In his frustration with the Israelites, God made a unique offer to them in Exodus 33: “Go up into the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you ...” Success in life but distance from God. I wonder how many of us would take that deal? Moses refused. He craved intimacy with God more than ease. He choose trust over clarity. He choose presence over comfort. 

What do we want most in life? I’ve chosen David’s prayer in Psalm 25:4 as my theme verse for 2020: “Show me your ways, Lord, and teach me your paths.” This is the pathway to a consequential life. As David placed his entire trust in the Lord, may we learn to do the same. Then we will discover his truth, his peace, his hope and his presence. “Guide me in your truth, and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.”  (Ps. 25:5)

What area of your life do you need to surrender to the One who loves us most and deepest?

Ian Trigg

Lead Pastor, proud papa, mediocre golfer