Simple Clarity

True confessions: I’m jealous of E. Stanley Jones. The 20th century missionary and theologian wrote this of his experience after finishing college:

I was faced with what to do with my life. I knelt before a chair, spread out a letter on the chair, and said, ‘Now Lord, I’ve got to answer this letter from the Mission Board. It may settle my life work. I’m ready to go anywhere, at any time, to do anything, if you will let me know what it is. What is it?’

The Inner Voice replied, ‘It is India.’ I arose from my knee and said, ‘It is India.’ It was settled.

Fifty years later I knelt before a chair in that same room and thanked God for the guidance and for the years spent working out that guidance.

(from The Word Became Flesh, 1963)

Amazing, isn’t it, to have such a clear and specific sense of direction. I don't know about you, but that hasn’t been typical of my own faith journey. Acht, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! (she says, admitting that her time since college can be measured in decades and not simply years).

I can rule out at least a few possibilities: the medical I’m-About-To-Faint profession, stock car I-Hate-Loud-Noises racing, and professional Which-One-Is-My-Right-Hand? athletics. Other than that, I’m still waiting for something akin to Jones’ lightening bolt moment of clarity.

The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that there’s a whole bunch of life and living that I *do* know how should be lived. All I have to do is open to any page of the Holy Love Letter to discover the type of life for which I was designed, and through which I will find deepest contentment and meaning. It is a call to be faithful in everyday moments, to live deeply, to love fully.

As Paul wrote to a group of new believers:

"We urge you to excel at love.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.
Attend to your own business and work with your hands,
so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders."
(I Thessalonians 4.10-12)

Nothing grand, nothing glamorous. Just up-to-the-elbows faithfulness.

And perhaps that’s precisely the type of life into which Holy Whispers are most easily heard. That when we face a crossroads, or need to chart a new direction, or take a leap of faith, our ears will already be trained by faithfulness to hear ~ and respond ~ accordingly.

If so, perhaps I should be less concerned with “What should I do with my life?” and more attentive to the question of “How should I live the moments of Today?” It seems that in God’s economy, the two go hand in hand.

Simple clarity. May it be so.