I sat calm and still with my hands on my lap. And from the outside it would seem I was peacefully meditating my time in the LDS temple. But inside I was pleading to God. I prayed for Him to hear and deliver me from my trials. I prayed that the frustrations that I faced would be taken from me. I felt worn, tired, and forgotten. But I knew and still know that as I exercise faith, He will lead and guide me. I am not forgotten. I am everything to God. This is His reply.
Sitting in the temple that day I randomly flipped to Helaman 15:3 which reads, “The people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them.” The word “chastened” really caught my attention. Was I being chastened? And I then turned to a footnote, Helaman 12 which reads,
“4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.
7 O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.
8 For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.
9 Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake.
10 And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley.
11 Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake;
12 Yea, by the power of his voice, do the foundations rock, even to the very center.
13 Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved.”
I was overcome as the spirit taught me, God is God. He can move mountains with His voice! He is able to deliver me and will bless me beyond what I expect. Had I forgotten how He had delivered me from my trials before? Was I having faith in God or in my own knowledge? Had I been quick to forget that God has answered my prayers before?
In my own experience I have found a common behavior of faith that develops in trials. Through my stress, grief, or despair I find myself drawing closer to God begging for Him to relieve me in the name of my faith. And many times God has relived my pains. But I have also realized the flaw in this kind of faith. Believing that God will take away trials instantly in the name of faith is not pure faith. But instead I have learned that faith is a beautiful process that goes beyond asking and believing only when I receive.
Faith is accepting Gods will even if He does not answer your prayer in the timing or manner you desire.
God wishes to bless us. But there are many times that He does not in the manner we expect. As I’ve been learning about faith a conference talk keeps coming to mind titled, ” But if not” Through this talk there are many examples of times when faithful children of God have had unwavering faith. Such as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego who said, “If it be so [if you cast us into the furnace], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand.” That sounds like my eighth-grade kind of faith. But then they demonstrated that they fully understood what faith is. They continued, “But if not, … we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”3 That is a statement of true faith. They knew that they could trust God—even if things didn’t turn out the way they hoped.4 They knew that faith is more than mental assent, more than an acknowledgment that God lives. Faith is total trust in Him.”
These examples and through my own trials I have come to learn that faith means I accept Gods will and timing no matter the unwanted circumstances that do come, to have total trust. The talk goes on to say, “Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not … . He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. … He will deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, … we will trust in the Lord.”
Faith is having an eternal perspective.
I have heard a phrase often throughout many general conference talks teaching us that through trials, we can focus on what we can learn to ease the burden of that trial. This teaching rings in my thoughts during times of trial. That day in the temple I was focused on what I wanted and what I felt like I deserved. Instead God had lovingly and sternly reminded me that He is God, the Almighty. Truly no miracle is too small, but we must have faith in His timing and wisdom, and that perhaps though hard to accept at times, that our trials are for our growth.
After my recent miscarriage I reflected on the empathy I gained through the experience. This empathy is invaluable. And through a seemingly devastating experience we can gain something beautiful, an understanding and way to connect to another human being. This is our silver lining. The empathy I have gained from my hardships in life has helped me better to succor those in need.
Our trials are essential for us to become like Christ. Christ came to this world to perform the atonement. Through the atonement he gained the ultimate empathy by experiencing the exact pains, sorrows and ailments of every living soul that has walked the Earth. I believe we come to Earth to gain experience and empathy. And thus in small way we become more and more like Christ through our trials. Through this perspective we can look at our trials as a perfect process of spiritual refinement.
Our pains may leave scars. We will most likely not be the same after we go through our pains and afflictions. Our trials mold us and can help us to grow or wilt. And when we feel God has abandoned us, remember He is with us. I have found strength in reflecting on the counsel given to Joseph Smith when he cried out to God in jail, “Where art thou?”. God answered, “7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment
You Are Everything to God. He does not forget you.
“While we may look at the vast expanse of the universe and say, ‘What is man in comparison to the glory of creation?’ God Himself said we are the reason He created the universe! His work and glory—the purpose for this magnificent universe—is to save and exalt mankind (see Moses 1:38–39). … Our Heavenly Father created the universe that we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters.
“This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast. We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation—worlds without end—within our grasp. And it is God’s great desire to help us reach it” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “You Matter to Him,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 20). LDS
So I ask the question, “What is lifting your wings? What is driving you in your life and choices? Is it faith or fear?” I know these promptings are from God. I know this because of the little and big ways God continues to lead my life. I know this when I look around at the world and see the beauty. I know that faith brings peace in our adversity. I also know faith can be hard too, especially when having faith leads down bumpy unexpected roads. But as we have faith the roads have purpose and God will walk along with us. And I will tell you that those rocky twisting hills we climb, those eventually lead to smooth paths where we breathe freely.
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