There is always a way.
On the whole, my experience of life has been pretty simple.
I watch free TV on a big monster-clunker of a set with a converter box and digital antenna. I drive Hondas because they don’t run into the ground until well after 200k miles. I don’t wear fancy jewelry or take exotic vacations. [In fact, I can hardly remember any vacation in the recent past.]
But I have been hugely blessed!
I have seen amazingly beautiful corners of the world. I have driven hundreds of thousands of miles and reveled in quiet prayer time in prairies and farms.
I have been stretched beyond my comfort zone again and again in order to make ends meet. I have sailed high above the earth to get a larger perspective of my small life.
God has always provided. Always.
Did I choose wrong?
But God hasn’t always provided how I wanted or expected. Like many, I have placed very specific requests in prayer… I have had very clear ideas about what I need and what direction I want to go.
My prayers are frequently quite prescriptive… a check list of tasks and plans. I’ve never thought of myself as ‘compartmentalized’ but evidently I am. [Funny how family and friends can easily point out your blind spots.]
And when God doesn’t provide like I think God should, I lose faith. Not in God… but in myself.
I start to think that maybe I got the message wrong. Maybe I’ve been heading down the wrong road or barking up the wrong tree. Maybe I chose the exact opposite choice that God wanted for me. Maybe I screwed it up royal!
And yet… God still provides.
I don’t know why or how. But I always have what I need… and often I get more than I need. Way more. I am abundantly blessed.
For the moments when doubt and fear rear their ugly heads, I fall back on some great words from Thomas Merton:
I believe the desire to please You does, in fact, please You.
God knows I’m trying. [Literally.]
You’ve seen it here before… and probably you will see it again because it’s just one of those prayers that fits for so many of the dark doubting days. Read it here and if you want to print out a copy to put in a book or tape to a mirror, click here: Thoughts in Solitude.
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.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope 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.
Therefore I 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.
Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”
© Abbey of Gethsemani