When you pray for God’s help, how do you recognize the answer? How do you know in which direction God is pointing you?
If you pray for a new job and the perfect one lands right in your lap, you know the answer to your prayer. But when you pray for help with a major decision, such as deciding between two jobs, it can be difficult to determine which one God wants you to accept.
Saint Theodora placed all of her worries and concerns into God’s hands. She fully submitted to God’s guidance and will in making the countless decisions she made in her lifetime. From the choice of which community to join and whether or not to accept the invitation to lead the Sisters of Providence to America and then all the faith-filled and business decisions that followed as superior, Saint Theodora prayed for the Lord to direct her.
We may wonder if Saint Theodora ever struggled in identifying God’s direction. For example, she wanted to join a religious community for many years before her mother gave her blessing. Did she feel her mother prevented her from following God’s call during that waiting period or did she truly trust that the time was right when her mother said so, that everything was in God’s hands?
My guess is that for most of her life, Saint Theodora simply allowed God’s answers to be revealed in God’s way and God’s timing. She prayed, did her research, consulted her mentors, and then believed all would be well. She did as she instructed her sisters to do: She trusted in and leaned on Providence.
She also knew that answers come in different forms. Rarely will you literally hear God speaking loudly and clearly to you. Sometimes you may read the message somewhere or hear it from another person. Someone will say something that just clicks.
Most often, you simply arrive at a place of knowing. The Spirit stirs within you and you feel it in your heart.
But as I’ve written before, it is difficult to hear God in a noisy setting. If you can’t hear or know what God is telling you, it isn’t that God isn’t speaking to you but rather that you aren’t giving God your full attention. Scripture says, “The Lord will guide you continually” (Isaiah 58:11). Rest assured that God is with you, helping you. You need only to be still and allow God’s message to sink in.
And don’t worry if you continue to be uncertain. God is persistent. The message will come to you again, perhaps in many ways. Some of those answers may even become part of your life lessons.
©Mary K. Doyle