Last week I got an affirmation from God. But I’m not sure what to do with it.
I was hoping for a clear “yes.” You know, “This is the way; walk in it”—complete with signpost pointing the direction.
Instead, I got an affirmation that my writing meets a prestigious Christian literary agency’s very high standards (!!) BUT they won’t represent me if I pursue the subject I’ve sunk the last three years of my life into.
The rejection didn’t have anything to do with my writing a faith-based message. It was purely a business decision.
At a Crossroad
I’m beyond thrilled that the agency’s VP asked for my other book ideas and said she was “very interested” in one I’ve outlined but not pursued. But writing the book that pinged her radar downright scares me. It’s darker (but ultimately redeeming) subject matter. Should I sink the next six months of my life into it? There’s no guarantee of representation.
The weight of this crossroad has burdened me ever since I spoke with the VP. Whatever I choose, it’ll likely change the trajectory of my writing career for the next five years—or much longer.
God’s “Yes”—Minus Clarity
I went to the Bible for guidance, asking myself if it contains instances where God’s “yes” was murky. Initially my question seemed absurd. God is not a God of confusion or disorder (1 Corinthians 14:33). However, God DID give direction without details. He told Abraham to go to a new land without—sans destination or map (Genesis 12:1). God showed the Wise Men a star to motivate them to find a prophesied child, but the star didn’t reappear until a thousand miles later when the Magi were a few miles away from Bethlehem (Matthew 2:9).
God told Lot to flee to the mountains so his family could survive God’s judgment on the Cities of the Plain (Genesis 19:29). God didn’t offer details about how they could find food after He scorched the earth (which, to this day, still doesn’t grow anything). In rapid fire, Lot faced multiple crossroads with impossible choices—and most of the time, he didn’t choose the right path. I can’t tell you how fervently I’m praying for God’s guidance to choose rightly.
So, if God’s “yes” is never murky, then what’s the problem? Did I not actually get a “yes”? Am I seeking clarity for something that’s really a “no”?
Clarity vs Trust
As John Kavanaugh learned when he visited Mother Teresa, clarity can become an idol that replaces authentic trust in God. When we wish for God to be our GPS, He says He’s our refuge (Psalm 62:8). When we want to chart a course, God says to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). When we insist on a five-year strategic plan, God says, “Follow me” (Luke 9:59-60).Difficult as it is, we trust God most when clarity is dimmest. Click To Tweet
We want answers. Instead God gives us His character and says, “Trust Me” (John 12:44).
I won’t lie to you. A huge part of me kicks against that. My day job is all about solving problems now—not later. So the snail’s pace of getting published in the Christian marketplace chafes me. I want to say, “Yeah God, I trust You. Especially if You iron out this wrinkle now so we can move on to the next thing.”
The other part of me knows that won’t work.
When Kavanaugh asked Mother Teresa to pray for clarity for him, she refused. “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of,” she said. “I have never had clarity. What I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”
Mother Teresa maintained the greatest need in life is greater trust. She truly walked out “Trust in Him at all times … Pour out your heart before Him” (Psalm 62:8 BSB).
Trust is a Work in Progress
I spent much of last week talking with people I respect most in the book industry. They’ve given me godly insights and even more to pray about. They’ve introduced me to people I never would have met otherwise. That in and of itself is a huge blessing. Who knows where those contacts will lead?
But I know I won’t get the answer I seek unless I keep it real with God. Spend serious time worshiping Him. Adoring Him. Praying. And completely surrendering all my dreams and desires to Him. Again. As many times as it takes.
Do you ever struggle with discerning God’s “yes”? Share your thoughts in the comments. We all can benefit from each other’s experiences!
A Deeper Dive
More Bible verses about trusting God: