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His Face or His Hand?

By Ian Acheson

I think one of the things I pray the most about is seeking direction; or for confirmation that I’m doing the right thing. Do you do that?

My work life tends to be lumpy. The life of a consultant is like that, however, in recent times there have been less lumps, meaning less projects and less income. I’m continually seeking God for clarity regarding my career.

As most of us writers know there are very few of us who are earning significant enough monies from our writing efforts that we’re able to go without other employment.

And what about all the clarity we seek with our writing? Do I keep pursuing publication, but isn’t this my calling, do I go the indie route, why won’t this story come out the way it should, well that $7 royalty cheque sure makes it all worthwhile, and on on we can go.

A while back I heard this story about Mother Teresa that provides some great perspective. Many of you may be familiar with it. It goes something like this:

John Kavanagh went to Calcutta to work with Mother Teresa. While there, he asked her to pray for him.

“What should I pray for?” she asked.

“Pray that I may have clarity,” he replied.

Mother Teresa responded, “No, I will not pray for that.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Clarity is the last thing you cling to,” she said. Kavanagh then remarked that she always seemed to have clarity.

She said, “I have never had clarity. What I always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”

Too often I’m got caught seeking His provision or His Hand, rather than His face, His heart.

If God always gave us the answers in our timeframe, we wouldn’t need Him. Yes, clarity is wonderful but sometimes when we have it we head off and start running the race by ourselves rather than leaning on the Lord. We can find too much comfort and security but trusting in God requires us to continually come to the Cross seeking Him.

He’s interested in the journey, teaching us more about Himself and helping us to better understand ourselves. We’re all probably familiar with the line or one of its many variants:

“God is more interested in who we are becoming than what we actually achieve.”

Many of us love the story of Abraham. God told him to up and leave his homeland without giving any instructions as to where to go. Yes, God gave him a wonderful blessing at the same time but he still had no clarity as to where he was supposed to take his little family.

I recently read this post from Ann Voskamp where shared about not missing one’s calling and she also made reference to Abraham:

“God didn’t give Abraham a map — He gave Abraham a relationship. He doesn’t want you to lean on a guidebook. God wants you to lean on the Guide — who speaks to you through His Book. Why would God give a map — when He wants to give you Himself?”¹

As that great Proverb says:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3:5-6)

If you’re going through an unsettling season of change or indecision, of waiting, or that manuscript just won’t come together the way you thought it would, may I encourage you to seek Jesus, rest in His Presence, and let His Word speak to you in His time.

Note 1: Ann Voskamp, “How Not to Miss Your Real Life Calling”, via

Ian AchesonIan Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney, Australia. Ian’s first novel, Angelguard is available in US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian’s website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter.

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8 Responses to His Face or His Hand?

  1. Iola says:

    Thanks, Ian. I always enjoy reading your posts.

  2. Great piece Ian. I really felt encouraged by the message in this post. The story about Mother Teresa was especially beautiful. Thanks for sharing your dilemma with us.

  3. That’s a great reminder Ian. I like the way you have phrased – to seek His face rather than clamour for his hand (provision). It is indeed a wonderful thing to be in God’s presence.

  4. Maree says:

    Blessed by reading, it is one of my husbands favourite
    verses and mine

  5. Written very well, Ian. So true! Thank you for the encouragement. I think most of us writers are right there most of the time. Bless you!

  6. I needed to read this today. I’ve been asking God to give me the story and He’s been saying “Just start writing and trust me.”

  7. Rhonda Pooley says:

    Thanks, Ian. Especially for your take on clarity. So many of us (me, I mean!) are desperate for clear direction because to not have it means we may end up
    doing something ‘out of the Lord’s will’!

  8. Cindy Huff says:

    I read section of this to my hubby. It was spot on for a need we have been praying for.