My daughter recently went through one of those “dark and fiercesome” storms of life. It’s hard to watch loved ones going through these defining times, our hands tied for the most part. There was little I could temporally do for her. But I could pray. I did. A lot. And I watched her as she traversed slippery slopes, edgy turns, ups and downs.
Finally, she could see some light at the end of the tunnel, and gradually many of those dark clouds and deafening thunder claps subsided. Her vision became more clear and direction was better understood. When I asked her what she believed got her through it all she said, “I prayed my way through.”
I love those words. Elder Neal A. Maxwell counseled us (I’m paraphrasing here) on the importance of going through our trials and allowing them to go through us.
When no earthly assistance is sufficient, our earnest prayers ascending are heard. Point upon point, those prayers allow us to:
- Be patient while things work themselves out. [Phew… that’s a hard one to understand and settle into. But timing is everything, and the Lord’s time is not ours.]
- Feel the feelings. A tendency of many is to block out feelings, incidents, or fears. Sometimes it’s because we are too weary, too scared, or too upset to deal with realities. Sometimes it’s because it seems easier to shut down and feel ‘nothing’ instead of shaking off the numbness to let sad things go through our being.
- Learn the lesson. Each difficulty can be a chance to learn something important about the Eternal Plan, our relationship with Diety or with family or associates, or something about ourselves. Being tutored in the mortal school of hard knocks is real, it’s important, and it brings blessings – but we rarely see them at the time of the refining process.
- Listen. It’s wonderful to know we can turn to our Father and dump all our concerns, fears, hurts, and anger. This part of prayer allows us to go to our safe place and voice our thoughts and feelings. But what of the second part of prayer? The listening part teaches us to ponder, sort through and distance ourselves from the things of this world. In a quiet, undistracted and trusting place, we can listen. The Holy Spirit teaches and guides clearly. And we can hear that counsel!
- Keep moving. Fear paralyzes. No wonder the adversary uses it against us. He doesn’t care to see us progress, and he delights in our paralyzed state. To keep moving – progressing – is the way to strength, greater faith, and realization of our own goodness.
While things may be difficult at the present time, God may have more wonderful and glorious blessings in store than we can imagine. Patiently praying, sorting through, learning, and listening may bring about more faith. Well needed as we continue through the ups and downs of life.
President Marion G. Romney said, “No divine commandment has been more frequently repeated than the commandment to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” [ Ensign, November 1979, p.16.]
And little wonder! Here in this mortal tabernacle, our hands may be tied many times. That is never the case with our Father in Heaven. While we are not equipped to deal with the storms of life, He is. Then let us pray our way through!
Vickey has taught Church youth & family programs, written hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. Visit her website at www.goodnessmatters.com