So my daughter came to me and asked “Do you have any personal stories about praying and not getting the answer immediately, but it actually ended up being better?” She was planning to teach something in seminary in that regard. We went to grandfather’s personal history, and this is what she came up with:
More than four decades ago, a family left their home in Salt Lake City and began the adventure of a lifetime that changed their world then and still continues even today. My father has shared numerous times in detail the many blessings that resulted and how the phenomenon that occurred then to realize a dream has come true was fulfilled and the continuing miracle of that decision in our home today.
Years ago my grandpa was deciding between business decisions that would alter the direction of his family forever. The option was to leave what was familiar and comfortable for something unknown and less sure. Let’s read from his journal what happened next:
“I remember it was late one night when all of the last figures had been put together, I had things firmly in my mind, and I was ready to make this life-changing decision the next morning. As I was heading for bed, it came to me that this was something I really ought to pray about, and so I went down to the basement where I was all alone and knelt down and prayed very earnestly to know if this was the right thing for me to be doing.
It seemed like the counsel given in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 9, verses 7-9 jumped out and filled my mind with thoughts. This passage tells us that when we have a problem and need an answer, first we must study it out in our mind. I had surely done that. Then we must ask if it be right, and I was doing that in my prayer. And it says, “And if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you, therefore you shall feel that it is right. But if it is not right, you shall have no such feelings but shall have a stupor of thought that will cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.”
That’s what I was experiencing in trying to tell Father in Heaven why this thing I wanted to do so terribly much was right. I seemed unable to explain the reasons. I closed my prayer and I thought about it and I said “This must be an answer … but I’ve got so much as stake I’ve got to be sure.” I prayed again and found the same thing happening. I had all of the reasons why I should be doing it, but I had no confirmation of assurance. I closed my prayer.
At least once more I went back, but this time I said, “Father in Heaven, although this is something I want desperately, Thy will be done, and if it is not Thy will, it is so important to me, I need a very clear sign or indication so that I don’t make a mistake as I select the best option.” Then I said, “Since I have been receiving no confirmation I’ve decided not to do it.” A wonderful feeling swept over me that can hardly be described. I had been told most certainly that this wasn’t something that I should be doing. I went to bed, and the next morning I called the man that was going to meet me to proceed with this program to tell him I had decided I was not going to do it.”
That decision resulted in a life changing experience for my father’s family and ultimately brought many blessings to posterity and my family. It has been said that it was perhaps the most important decision ever in our family, but it wasn’t easy and the answer took years to be revealed.
Now, however, its significance is very clear.
I still get chills every time I read about that experience, because I remember my father sharing that story with me when I was a boy. The quiver in his voice and the tears in his eyes told me that this was no ordinary experience, but rather the hand of God in our lives, and that gave me hope and direction as well.
My father’s life was worn out in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. I admire his commitment and staying power when times were rough, because times were very tough: cancer, failed businesses, back-breaking labor, tragic loss, and death. But despite the hardships that came, those we are experiencing now, and even the hardships yet to come, through Jesus Christ, we will be victorious. Dad knew it. My daughter knows it. And I know it, too.
Because dad left his story and personal witness with his children, I am able to share these kinds of experiences with his posterity and mine.
For that, I am eternally grateful.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.