Trust in the Lord with all your heart

May 26, 2020

Provided by Rev. Susan Roddey, Director of Spiritual Life at Abernethy Laurels

Thomas Merton was an American Trappist monk, a theologian, and a deeply spiritual writer who died in 1968.  Below is a famous prayer that he wrote:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.[1]

“I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.”  As we listen to Merton’s prayer, we hear the words of a faithful man confronting the uncertainty of life and his difficulty in knowing whether he understands God’s will.  He is sincere and honest as he admits that even when he thinks he is doing what is right in God’s eyes, he may not be. 

That is the dilemma of a person of faith.  There have been times when I thought I was following God’s purposes for me when I have been mistaken.  I can look back and see what got in the way: I did desire to please God, but my desire to please myself was greater.  It was more like I wanted God to rubber stamp what I wanted. We are all full of mixed motives, but in the end when we are looking for guidance, we have to make sure that our motives to please ourselves are not the leading ones.  Although we feel the tug of what we want, through prayer we need to wholeheartedly desire to please God, perhaps praying for this wholehearted desire if we don’t feel it.  It is scary sometimes to surrender ourselves to God in such a way, for we know that sometimes God leads us where we don’t want to go.  This is when we need to be willing to trust as Merton does in his prayer: “And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.”

A verse to ponder: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5)

[1]From  Thoughts in Solitude, by Thomas Merton