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All Good Things
March 8, 2024

Promises, Promises

"Over the decades I've followed him, Jesus has made something very clear to me in the Scriptures, the lives of eminent saints, and my own stumbling experience: Living in the will of God is more about knowing and trusting his specific promises than receiving specific direction (Hebrews 11:8). It's more about resting in his sovereignty than wrestling with my ambiguity (Psalm 131:1-2)." -Jon Bloom

I like this kind of thinking; I need this kind of thinking. In fact, I would be a very different person if I had not adopted this kind of thinking. Up until my late college years, I was paralyzed with fear of the unknown. People would tell me that I had a lot of potential. That's a nice thing to say, however, it made me all the more anxious and fearful about choosing the "right" career path. My biggest prayer at that time was for God to tell me what to do. I wanted to be appointed for a mission by God, directly, so that my life would be guaranteed to be on the right track: I wanted to do God's will, whatever that meant.

After considering what I was praying for, I realized that I was potentially asking for something to which I could have had great difficulty committing. What if God asked me to go to a foreign country, do homeless outreach, change my major, join the military, enter religious life, or move to a big city? At the time, those were all pretty daunting scenarios. Maybe asking for God's direct orders wasn't the best strategy. So, what should I be praying for instead?

Over the next weeks, months, and years after graduating, I came to a new realization that can be summed up by a conversation I once heard about between Mother Teresa and a philosopher named John Kavanaugh. Feeling like he had reached a crossroads in his life, Kavanaugh was wondering what he should do. When Mother Teresa asked him what he wanted, he answered, "Clarity, pray that I have clarity." And she replied, "No. I will not do that. Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of." He was confused because it seemed to him that she had clarity. But she met that assumption with laughter: "I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you will trust God."

  • God's will = trust God

Practically, as Bloom mentioned above, this means trusting in God's promises - minute by minute, more and more. For me, Lent has come to be a time of expanding and intensifying my knowledge and love of God's promises. There is new life to be experienced in His promises. Anxiety, fear, confusion, shame, guilt - these and more can be dissolved and transformed in God's promises. Surround yourself with the Truth this Lent and always, and the Truth will set you free.

Timothy Nagy
Academic Advisor & Spiritual Life Fellow
St. Francis College

Heart Bible

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