“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 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. . . 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)
I came across this quote from Thomas Merton this week. It’s not the first time that I’ve read this, but it always makes me stop and contemplate the meaning or just wonder at the pure honesty that Merton delivers.
Merton was one of the great spiritual thinkers of the 20th century. A Trappist monk who became interested in Zen Buddhism prompting much discussion between the east and the west. Merton was also known for his social activism promoting a non-violent civil rights movement. So this quote by Merton, becomes obvious that even he shared this sense of uncertainty about the future, even about his relationship with God. This is rather refreshing to someone like me.
Throughout this questioning, Merton remains clear that his desire is to please God and to trust even in times that we may feel lost. Our country this week has experienced a lot of heartache and what I took from Thomas Merton’s quote this week was that good overcomes evil and we need not fear that God is always with us. It’s times like this, times of uncertainty that we look deep into ourselves and remember that God will not leave us to fight our perils alone.