Faith vs. Clarity

post date: September 21, 2011


After the service last night several of us went out to eat. During the meal Pastor H. B. Charles, Jr. shared the story of a man named John Kavanaugh who went to India to spend some time serving in Calcutta with Mother Teresa. The trip came at a turning point in his life when he was seeking God’s direction for the future.

It seems that when he met with Mother Teresa, John Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for,” she asked. So he uttered the request that was uppermost on his mind, the reason he had traveled so many thousands of miles from home. 

“Clarity. Pray that I might have clarity.”

To his surprise, Mother Teresa refused. “I will not do that,” she said. “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and the last thing you must let go of.”

But surely Mother Teresa had found clarity in her many years of serving the poor and dying in Calcutta. She laughed at that suggestion. “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you will trust God.”

Simple, clear and very biblical.

This life is often confusing, and sometimes it is downright bewildering. Just when we think we’ve got it figured out, everything turns upside down. Any “clarity” we have doesn’t seem to last very long. If we have to have “clarity” going forward, we’re all going to be stuck where we are for a long time.

Hebrews 11 doesn’t say “By clarity” Abraham went out, but “by faith” he went out. There’s a big difference between faith and clarity.

Clarity is what we want.
Faith is what we need.

Stop clinging to clarity and pray for the grace to start trusting. Following Jesus isn’t always an easy road. Sometimes the way forward is clear; sometimes it isn’t. But each step taken by faith brings us another step closer to God.

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Ray Pritchard
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