Lost and Found

Posted by Ann Urinoski on

One of my favorite prayers begins: "My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going." I first learned this prayer - the Thomas Merton prayer - when I was in my early twenties, and it can apply to many situations. I have prayed it when I felt lost in South Africa, uncertain of where I should go to seminary, and bewildered as to where my next job might take me. One of the prayer's most powerful moments is when Merton acknowledges that even when we feel lost, our doing our best is enough, saying "I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you." This line can be our starting point when we are otherwise bewildered; our best is always enough.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul reminds us that "One believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved." We are called to live into our belief, and while sometimes this may be easier than others, Paul reminds us that "The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart." Our continuing striving, no matter how lost or found we feel, is not in vain. God is with us, and God's word is near us. Scripture reminds us of the promises assured to us, and Merton's prayer reminds us how we can find God even when we feel lost:

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 that 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 will I 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 face my perils alone. - Thomas Merton

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