Wisdom from My Spiritual Director

The Rising: Living the Mysteries of Lent, Easter and PentecostAfter we met last week to ruminate on where God is in my life, my spiritual director send me an email with some reading she found while meditating over Wendy Wright’s The Rising. I don’t have this book. I’ve never seen it before, but I want a copy now.  

My loving and gentle spiritual director carefully typed out these words from what she’d read.  She explained the context where Wright is leading a retreat.  This woman had been told something by someone long ago.  Wright obviously didn’t think that this previously offered pearl of wisdom wasn’t helping this woman.  So, she recalls that she told the woman this:

“If you think you sense the will of God in your life in some long-range, highly detailed plan, something you can see stretching out with clear goals and successes into the future, that is not the will of God. If, however, you have an insistent sense that the next, very hesitant step beyond which you can see nothing is in fact the step that must be taken, that is most likely the will of God for you.”

My spiritual director wanted me to get the point.  So, she adds the rest of Wright’s reflection on this encounter as follows.

“What are we assuming when we ask to know God’s will? Are we imagining a God who, like a master planner, has a five-year, ten-year, or lifetime plan mapped out for us and leaves it up to us to figure out what is is? Do we harbor such a deterministic notion of divinity? Are our discernments basically concerned with ‘getting it right,’ with making the choice that down the road we will be able clearly to see was ‘correct’ because everything came out in the end in a neatly wrapped, manageable package? Do we live with this sort of tidy, self-protective, predictable kind of God?”

She rephrased that last question for me and directed it at me.  Directly.  She knows me well.  She knows that I’m able to offer this wisdom to others, but have trouble hearing it myself. I keep re-reading these words in my email this week.  I need to hear them.  Moreover, I hear them echoed in the story of Nicodemus that I’m preparing to preach.  What if Jesus, our spiritual director, used these words instead?  Would we hear this wisdom any better than we do in the gospel?

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