There are scriptures that comfort and scriptures that teach. There are ones that pick up my spirit and others that drive me to my knees. Still others have me ponder the ways of heaven and leave me scratching my head more often than providing comfort. The one from Isaiah where he says “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8), is one of those scriptures. Like tackling a puzzle, it keeps me on my toes. And yet there are times when the profound nature of God’s ways is too much for me to comprehend. Should I keep trying, or be satisfied with my level of understanding? I found my answer in a child’s toy.
I enjoy brain-teasers. Any time I solve a word jumble or a math or logic problem, I feel smart for the day. But there is one puzzle that torments me—the Rubik’s Cube. For some reason, my brain fights the logic behind solving it. I have not yet solved a 3×3 cube. There are 2×2, 4×4, and now 5×5 cubes for the real geniuses. Even the 2×2 cube is out of my league. I found a cute 3-cubed flashlight version of the Rubik’s Cube that lights up when you turn any of the cubes. It only takes a few twists to bring it back to its state of perfection, since there are only three cubes (not three sides). I admit, it doesn’t take a genius to solve it, but it makes me feel better when I see the three cubes line up according to color.
As for the 3×3, I can solve one side. But that’s where it ends. What is the reason behind my battle with the Rubik’s Cube? In order to go further than solving one side, you have to mess up the side you’ve solved. I can’t bring myself to do that. I’ve tried, only to find the mess I’ve made is too much to bear, so I fix the first side and call it quits.
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” (1 Corinthians 3:19)
As I sit looking at my 3×3 cube with one perfectly solved side, I take pride in this accomplishment. I’d rather admire it as it stands rather than go further to solve the entire cube—the puzzle is not complete but it’s complete enough. This is a false sense of pride. My mistake with the Rubik’s cube lies in my inability to see beyond the one finished side. I am stifled by my lack of wisdom and my own foolishness. Sadly, this not only prevents me from ever mastering a child’s game, it has spiritual consequences as well. It has the potential to separate me from my Father in Heaven by limiting my understanding of his eternal love for me and his limitless confidence in my ability to live up to his expectations.
Heavenly Father Knows Best
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).
Our Father in Heaven has great plans for his children. He is a God of perfection, greatness, and glory. All that He has is ours to inherit. He works in ways that are difficult for his children to understand. And yet we see miracle after miracle each day, through natural wonders of the earth and through the spiritual blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He sees the potential of who we are to become. He is the beginning and the end of all things. His perspective is virtuous and clear beyond our understanding of virtue and clarity. We are counseled to trust in him in everything. His ways are not our ways. He knows the glory that awaits us in the eternities. He also knows we can face and accomplish much by keeping his commandments and trusting in his ways. He sees beyond the one side of the cube.
Letting go of our way in favor of God’s way—faith beyond seeing
“My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom” (D&C 136:31).
Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are limited in what we see. Sometimes we need to take a step back and remember that the Lord has given us talents and blessings beyond what we realize. Sometimes we need to get back on our knees, repent of our prideful ways, and take on the challenges of life—to better ourselves and to help our fellow man reach his or her greatness as well. Sometimes we need to rethink our thinking and align it with God’s will.
Counsel from heaven to trust in the Lord
“Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Mosiah 23:21–22).
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ often requires us to enter into darkness, trusting the light is but one footstep away. It takes faith to step out of our comfort zone. It may seem impossible to function, but if we are following the Lord’s plan for us, we are not walking alone. It may seem life’s trials get in the way of our progress, but in reality they are what lead us to our eternal happiness with the Lord. We may think all is lost while we work through trials which appear to have no end. Like with the cube, I became stressed about the need to mess up the completed side in order to fix the others. But in the end, each side of the cube is made perfect when we complete the final twist. And in God’s eternal plan, all the trials of the world will make sense as the fruits of His labor become ripened for all to witness. Every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is the Christ. There will be no more contention in the hearts of mankind. This is one of “God’s ways” that
I will one day welcome with joy.
We are never alone
“If we sincerely desire and strive to measure up to the high expectations of our Heavenly Father, He will ensure that we receive all the help we need…” (Elder F. Todd Christofferson, As Many As I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten” Ensign May 2011)
It may be true that God’s ways are not our ways, but his goal for us to be with him again is real and obtainable. As long as we remember he is our champion and our father, as long as we take comfort in Christ’s redemptive power, as long as we repent and live another day, we shall obtain mercy, strength, and blessings beyond our own understanding. If we seek to make our ways more like His, they will lighten our way to our heavenly home.
Nanette O'Neal loves the gospel and is very happy to share her testimony on LDS Blogs. She is a convert to the church and still feels the spirit burn strong within her heart. She graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with a degree in music education and has taught children and adults in the private and public sphere for over twenty years. Nanette continues to study the gospel and the art of writing. She writes weekly inspirational articles on her blog and is currently working on an LDS fantasy novel series, A Doorway Back to Forever. You can find her at NanetteONeal.blogspot.com. Nanette has a wonderful husband, talented son, and three beautiful dogs.