I once told a friend I would give my whole bank account for clarity. He said, “No, you wouldn’t.” I said, “Yes, I would.” He said, “No, you wouldn’t.” I said, “Yes… I would.” He said, “You really want clarity, huh? Okay, I will pray for that for you.”
The next morning—less than 12 hours later—I woke up and read this line from Aimee Joseph’s Demystifying Decision-Making: “We far too easily demand clarity from our Creator when, instead of clarity, he would rather cultivate faith in us.”
I suppose God answered my prayer for clarity quicker than expected. Yet instead of giving me clarity of direction, he gave me clarity of priority—gently reminding me that increased trust is infinitely more valuable than a divine blueprint on what to do. (Let’s hope God doesn’t come for my bank account now that he’s cleared this up for me!)
Consider three ways that trust in God is more valuable than clarity on what to do.
1. Clarity might help you now; trust will help you for a lifetime.
In one sense, the difference between clarity and trust is similar to the difference between a painkiller and true healing. We often long for the narcotic of clarity because we long for a quick fix. Clarity takes us out of the uncomfortable—out of a place of dependence—and makes us feel back in control. But is that really what we need most?
If God gave us clarity, that may (or may not) help us with a particular decision, but it would never help us again. But if he gave us trust, that would help us for a lifetime (Ps. 125:1–2).
Those who trust the Lord don’t thrive because they always have clarity but because they deem the one who holds the future worthy of their soul’s deepest rest. The security we long for doesn’t come from knowing the future but from knowing and trusting God.
Don’t misunderstand: clarity is not a bad thing. In fact, clarity is often the fruit of faith in action. But don’t miss the goodness of the seasons of life that feel unclear. Don’t rush past them. Don’t live in the future and miss the preciousness of what God is trying to teach you right now. If you learn to trust God even in unclear seasons, your efforts will bear sweet fruit for the rest of your life and all eternity.
2. Clarity allows you to move on; trust allows God to move in.
One of the hardest parts of unclear seasons is feeling stuck—like we can’t move forward in any areas of life until we resolve the unclear area. But let two things be clear.
First, if you do nothing in this present season except deepen your trust in God, it will be one of the most productive seasons of your life (James 1:2–4). The product of clarity is a decision; the product of trust is a relationship. Which is more productive in the long run? I appreciate Ann Voskamp’s observation: “Too often we want clarity, and God wants us to come closer.” Is it possible that God is allowing this season of waiting to deepen your communion with him?
Second, God may be slowing you down in some areas of life, but he doesn’t want you to stop moving. Don’t sit on the sideline while you wait for clarity in one area. God usually gives us clarity not while we are sitting on our hands and fixating on a decision but while we are being the hands of Christ and focusing on his mission.
3. Clarity gives you something to run to; trust gives you someone to run to.
One of the most precious gems in Demystifying Decision-Making is a story Aimee Joseph tells of her son after he made a poor decision. If you feel uncertain about the past or future, be encouraged by this story today!
My nine-year-old son stood with his bicycle at the top of the steep hill in front of our house. His gaggle of neighborhood friends stood at the base of the hill where my husband and I were doing some gardening. Suddenly my son cried out from the top of the hill, “Hey guys, watch this!” My husband and I immediately looked up in alarm, as those are dangerous words coming from a young boy. Much to our surprise, our son’s next move was not to ride down the hill on the bike but to send the bike down the hill without a rider. Our eyes moved back and forth between the bike, which was picking up speed, and the new-to-us car toward which it was headed. Sure enough, the bike slammed into the side of the car as we watched in shock and horror. My son, recognizing what he had done and not even understanding himself why he had done it, began running down the hill. I fully expected him to run to his room in embarrassment, but he did something we did not expect. He ran directly into my husband’s arms, paying my husband one of the greatest compliments of his life. In a moment when fear of shame and consequences might have made him run from his father, he chose to run to his arms. He knew his father well enough to know that there would surely be consequences, but he also knew that his father loved him far more than he was disappointed with him.
Joseph’s story helps us see the all-surpassing value of trust. Trust not only helps us make decisions without being paralyzed by fear, but it also gives us someone to run to even when we make poor decisions.
Feeling clarity is not always a stamp of God’s approval, nor does it guarantee good outcomes. Meanwhile, trust in God gives us confidence that regardless of the outcome, we have a loving and sovereign Father who is always with us and ready to embrace us in his loving arms (Luke 15:20).
Run to your Father’s arms
Our future is unknown, but God’s character and promises are not. Let’s rest today knowing our God is supremely trustworthy and will redeem all of our decisions for his glory and our good (Rom. 8:28).
Read “Which Memories Should I Dwell On?” here.
Read “Special Needs and the Goodness of Dependence” here.
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