God answers prayers. And we pray in faith, knowing He hears us. But what happens when the blessings don’t seem to come?
I have a younger sister who greatly desires her own Prince Charming. She has met and dated many potentials, but none of them panned out. She is attractive, accomplished, fit, and funny. I know she is wondering why she has been asked to wait for now.
I spent many years wanting a baby without having any success. The few pregnancies I had ended early without any clear reasons why. My husband and I fasted, prayed, and cried. But the Lord needed us to accomplish certain things before He was ready to grant our desires. Now I look back and see clearly His plan. I was to have a special needs child who would take all my energy. This boy is the light of my life, but I could never have served the Lord in the same capacities once he arrived. And since becoming a mother, I have seen myself stretched in ways I never imagined.
I, like my little sister, also had to wait for my eternal companion. I thought I would meet him in college, and when that didn’t happen I did a lot of soul searching to ask myself what I wanted. I had always thought that I would marry and that marriage would direct my life, much as it had for the generations of women before me. But God’s plan for me was different than that of my mother and grandmother. I got to go out and discover who I am without any other influences. It was a time of great growth.
As I recently went through my husband’s planner from the time we were dating, I found a list of the things he was looking for in a wife. I was stunned to see that this time of soul searching I endured before we met, perfectly qualified me to meet every one of the items on his list. Not only that, but those qualities have served me well in our marriage, in motherhood, and in my career. I see now that when the Lord asked me to wait, He was giving me a huge gift.
In a talk entitled “Trust in the Lord,” Richard G. Scott said:
“Now may I share some suggestions with you who face the …testing that a wise Heavenly Father determines is needed even when you are living a worthy, righteous life and are obedient to His commandments.
Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.”
I know we all know what pain Elder Scott is referring to. Yet, as I reflect on those growing experiences, I am surprised to see that the pain was worth it. Those painful experiences are what has built me. I was looking through a box of pictures my Mom and Dad dropped off recently. They were from my college years, and I hadn’t looked at them in a long time. I came across two pictures in particular that left an impression with me. They were taken a year apart, but it had been a year full of great trials.
During that year I had suffered serious heartbreak as a deep relationship ended unexpectedly. I endured serious health problems that left me in bed for months. And I had great struggles with college roommates. And yet when I look at the picture taken at the end of that time I see a light in my eyes that is missing in the first picture. I also look more confident, more poised, and more interesting than in the first picture. It’s amazing what a picture can show you.
I feel I am beginning to understand the reason that our blessings don’t always come when we want them. Sometimes we have a great work to do, that we can only do in our current state. And sometimes the Lord wishes to help us grow, as Elder Scott stated, sometimes painfully. But always to become someone greater than we were before.
When I am having great trials, and even not so great ones, I am reminded of something I heard years ago. “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Dr. Wayne Dyer. And as spiritual beings we have a destiny and purpose bigger than we can imagine right now. God is preparing us, not for success in this life, but for success in the world beyond. He can see the big picture, and He is growing souls.
I can’t say I will stop asking God incessantly for things. I think this is human nature. But when the blessings are slow in coming, look around. What are we supposed to be learning while we wait?
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.