When I Do Not See the Road Ahead

This week, those participating in my Praying with the Mystics retreat in daily living are praying with Thomas Merton. One of the things I shared with the retreatants is a prayer of Merton’s that I love, perhaps because it expresses so well something we can all relate to.

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 faced my perils alone.

There are times when, no matter how hard we seek clarity, the road is not clear. We think, hope, believe we are doing what God wills, but somewhere there is nagging wondering whether we are, in fact, getting it right. In those moments, we can do nothing but trust – trust that our attempt and desire to do God’s will itself pleases God, trust that God will lead us the right way, and trust that we are never alone, even in those moments when we don’t feel the presence of God.