Have you ever felt that God wanted you to do something, but lacked clarity? Have you neglected to take the first step simply because you couldn’t see the next step or know the final destination? Maybe, like me at times, you’ve tried to spiritualize your inaction by insisting that you were “waiting on God?”
I remember a time when a relative, who was a musician, sent me back to his coffee house to get a guitar capo. I was happy to assist in any way I could. He told me exactly where to find it in a room in the basement. When I got to the stairs leading down I searched for a light switch. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate it. So, understanding that the capo was needed, I begun to descend the stairs into total darkness.
I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. Each step took faith. The basement was not very neat, and there were things all over the place that I could easily trip on. I managed to find the room in which the capo was located, but was again denied the benefit of finding a light switch. This was a very old building, and things weren’t as the should be.
I knew that the object of my quest was on the opposite side of this messy room. I was still in total darkness. I remember thinking that this must be what blindness was like. I took it one step at a time. It took a long time for me to find the capo, but I did find it. After finding my way back to the stairs I rejoice in seeing the light again.
Feeling my way about that basement was, in some ways, like the call of God. I wasn’t completely sure of the next step, but I knew that I needed to take it if I was to be successful in my mission. Clarity would have been nice.
We aren’t always afforded the luxury of clarity in our faith. I suppose if we were it wouldn’t be called faith! In a world of distrust and mistrust, a world of fine print where some exclusions apply, a world where people want to take advantage of the kind and gracious, it is understandable why we would desire clarity before stepping into a world of the unknown. But understanding is not a right in the world of faith; it is a luxury! “But he answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah'” (Matthew 12:39 ESV).
In my experience, God seldom shows us us the big picture from the outset. And after decades of serving Him, I’ve come to regard this fact as an act of mercy. I believe that if we fully knew the great things that He wants us to do we would be completely overwhelmed to the point of inaction. I further believe that many of the things God has in store for us require spiritual growth, without which our calling would be impossible. These are the things we learn through obedience as we take each step of faith as though it were the final destination.
Clarity is a special gift with which God may occasionally choose to bless us. But clarity is never the goal. That role is reserved for obedience. It is not wrong to ask the Lord for clarity; ask, but determine in your heart to obey whether or not clarity comes. Take the next step in faith, knowing that He will direct your path. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV).