Thursday, January 28, 2016

Blind Faith


You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

When you see my daughter running without her white cane, you might not realize she is legally blind. Actually, there have been many blog posts written about the honest and painful reality of how many people with legitimate visual impairments are accused of "faking it." 
What many people may not understand is that BLIND doesn't always mean absolute and complete lack of seeing anything.  Blind could mean a very blurry, or clouded view; or maybe such a brightness that clarity is lost and uncorrectable.  There are many levels to blindness.
This past weekend, our pastor continued a sermon series on the passage from Jeremiah 29 concerning God's plans.  We saw how God made promises to the Israelites that he would not abandon them; that he still had a plan for them, but that they needed to begin to "bloom where he planted them" for that season.

So, what does this have to do with my daughter's vision? 

Our pastor mentioned an excerpt from Brennan Manning's book The Ragamuffin Gospel about Mother Theresa.  I'll use a post from a blog Ears to Hear in order to summarize the Manning excerpt for you:
When he [Kavenaugh] met Mother Teresa, he asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” she replied. He then uttered the request he had carried thousands of miles: “Clarity. Pray that I have clarity.”

“No,” Mother Teresa answered, “I will not do that.” When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” When Kavanaugh said that she always seemed to have clarity, the very kind of clarity he was looking for, Mother Teresa laughed and said: “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”
Hmmm...so, while there might not be CLARITY...we may step out in faith and trust...

Yes, this made me think of faith verses clarity in terms of how my daughter will run around an area without her white cane. 
How can she do this if she is legally blind? 
Well, very similar to how we can step out in faith and trust God even if we don't have a CLEAR picture of what he wants us to do.

Know the terrain:  My daughter is NOT safe in a new environment without her white cane.  When we go to someone's house for the first time, or if we are going to an area with lots of stairs, changes in lighting, dark areas, or bumpy and unpredictable terrain, we take that cane and we make sure she uses it!  BUT, if we have been to the house a few times, or if we know the area well (perhaps a familiar playground with equipment she has used before), then we might choose to leave the cane off to the side for a while so she can play like the other kids. 

In the same way, we need to know our terrain in our faith.  We need to read our Bible so we are familiar with how God has led his people in the past, how he has spoken to us, how he has acted, how he has timed things...if we don't get familiar with the character of God; how could we possibly learn to see him in our current surroundings? 
God took the Israelites out of Egypt, but he didn't take them straight to the Promise Land...so why do we think he would quickly solve any of our problems in our lives? 
If we see how he has acted in the past, we can understand his actions in the present. Even if we are not perfectly clear, we can still learn to trust him by getting to know him better.

Beware the dangers of over-stepping:  Our daughter has taken many, many spills down the stairs...both at home and out in public.  She will forget that there is a danger of over-stepping and will miss a step; or may not see the staircase approaching at all.  The white cane is there to give her the indication of a drop-off, but, even then, if she has her momentum going, she may not be able to pull herself back in time to take a safe and slow step down.

I think I've done this with my faith before as well.  When I get too comfortable, and I feel a little too sure of my OWN abilities, I start to think I'm invincible and that no harm will come to me even if I try to race ahead of God and his timing. 
Just because we think we have a short-cut, or a better way to accomplish something quickly doesn't mean God is in agreement with us. 
We could be trying to cut out a "step" that is used to teach us our limits, guide us in another direction, or alert us that we are on a completely wrong path.

Shut up and Listen!:  One day my daughter and I were crossing the street and I was talking to her.  She said, "Shhhh..." and put her finger up to her mouth the indicate the need for silence.  When we got across to the other side she told me I could talk again. 

I had never thought about how I was making things unsafe for her by TALKING while she was trying to listen for traffic!  (She also needs to hear her cane on the concrete, and needs to hear it ticking against the stairs as she ascends and descends because that ticking noise indicates when the steps end.) 
How often are we so busy talking about our worries and problems that we never take the time to just be still and silent and wait for God's answer? 
How can we hear God if we are constantly talking over him?  When we pray, let's be sure to include some quiet time to listen to God as he talks to our hearts.

When I heard about Mother Theresa's statement not to pray for clarity, but to pray that we trust God...I knew I was at fault for looking too hard for clarity. I always want a sign that I am walking in God's will. If I feel friction, then I assume it's because I'm NOT walking in God's will. But, wow, look at all the times that people did as he directed them to and things did not magically get better! Life wasn't a cake-walk for Abraham or Noah just because they obeyed. And, yikes, Daniel got thrown in the Lion's Den! Let's look at Paul...he finally starts following God and he gets to be beaten within an inch of his life, shipwrecked and imprisoned...I would have said, "What am I doing wrong Lord?"


So, since I'm a clarity seeker, this image of my daughter running and playing without her white cane helped me to understand what I should be doing. Rather than waiting for absolute clarity, I need to be more in tune with God and his character so I can run in faith and trust.

Pray:  Heavenly Father, we often are impatient and don't wait for your timing.  We often want you to spell out your will so perfectly to us that we completely miss the opportunities you place in our paths along the way.  Help us to be more in tune to you so that we can function on less clarity and more blind faith.  Amen.

~Tammie Hefty

2 comments:

  1. What a blessing and confirmation for this season in my life right now. Thank you for reminding me of this much needed lesson.

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    1. I'm so glad this was a blessing to you, Denie!!! <3

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