Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
I think that scripture is so difficult, yet so very, very important! There have been a couple of times where I have received information through revelation. I KNOW I have received revelation. But then, things don’t work out the way I think they should. I’ll give you a couple of examples.
There have been times when I have had the impression that I was going to receive a specific calling. It wasn’t something I was hoping for or dreaming about. In fact, having the calling was frightening to me. So when I had the impressions (because it happened more than once) that a specific calling was coming my way, I prayed diligently. I sought the will of the Lord. I asked who should serve with me (some were callings that I would need counselors for). I prayed for direction in how to manage the organization. I went through the process as if I had already been called and then just didn’t say anything to anyone. But the callings never came.
The first time it happened I was really, really confused. I wasn’t angry, just confused. I wondered why I had the thought that calling was coming, when it didn’t. About four months later, we moved out of that ward and I just assumed that I hadn’t received the calling because we were moving and at the time I didn’t know we were moving. But that still didn’t explain why the information came because the Lord did know I was moving.
The second time, I was more devastated. The reasons for that were because I absolutely loved my calling (in the stake young women) and not only was I not called to serve in the calling I had been impressed was coming, but I was completely released from the organization and not given another assignment, not even in my ward. That was a very difficult three months.
I have also had impressions or revelation that specific things were going to happen in my private life, and then they didn’t happen. As I have pondered about these situations and spoken of some of them with trusted friends, I have learned a couple of things.
The Spirit has helped me to learn that I often do receive revelation about specific things. I get the message right. But then I interpret the information to mean things, and often my interpretation is not correct. That was helpful information. For instance, years ago we were house hunting. At the very beginning, my husband and I both had the impression that we were to purchase a specific house. We prayed about it. I specifically asked in my prayers if this was the house Heavenly Father wanted for us because I didn’t want to ask for something He didn’t want me to have. I received validation that the Lord did want me to have the house we were looking at. We went through the process. There was no way we could afford it. We tried some creative financing. It didn’t work. We asked for help from family. That didn’t work either. The house sold to someone else. I cried and was confused. We kept looking, but didn’t find anything that we felt good about.
A year later, the same house went into foreclosure with the new owner. I happened to drive by and saw the public notice on the door and stopped to read it. We went to the auction, but you have to have cash or financing in hand to purchase there. That wasn’t happening. We figured out who to contact to talk about purchasing the home after the foreclosure process. We finally were connected with the president of the bank which held the note for the house. She told us that she would love to unload it to us as they always lose money in these situation but we would have to speak with their company which manages these things. When we spoke with the company, they indicated that they had already turned it over to the realtor and it would have to go through the process and we could purchase it when it was on the market. We still could not afford it if it went to the market. As I cried and cried, after hanging up the phone with the secondary company, and pleaded why isn’t this working, I heard, “You took no thought to ask me if the timing was right.”
What??!! You mean there’s a right TIME to purchase this house??!! I was frustrated but now I knew when the Lord has a plan, He also has a time……Oh!!!! Sometimes I can be so thick!
In the mean time, we kept looking at other houses, but didn’t find the one that felt right, and would work with our budget, our family, etc…. Now you need to understand that this entire process had been taking nine years. Finally, things changed, someone else bought a house and asked us to rent it from them. We never did buy that house, and we never will.
So why was I so sure that we were supposed to purchase that house? As I thought about it, now with Heavenly Father’s plan unfolded in that department, I realized some things. Our new house, is in a new ward, where my husband is now serving as the Bishop. If we had purchased any other home, we would be in the other ward, as this side of town is more expensive, and we could only afford things on the other side of town. So Heavenly Father had a different plan than I did the entire time. That house kept us from purchasing another house and being stuck in a situation that would have been difficult. Was my information to buy that house correct? Sure, in the fact that it kept us from purchasing a house that we would not have been able to unload financially and would not be able to be in the place the Lord needed us to be in to accomplish His purposes.
Now think about Nephi. He and his brothers were told to go back to Jerusalem and get the plates of brass. The Lord knew He was going to send them back for them. Why didn’t He just tell them to get them before they left the first time? For that matter, why didn’t He just tell them to get Ishmael’s family and save them two trips back to Jerusalem? I don’t know. Maybe Nephi and Lehi never knew. Nephi tried to get the plates of brass several different times before he was finally successful in obtaining his errand from the Lord.
Sometimes, in my experience often times, we know what we are suppose to do, what the Lord wants us to do, but we have no idea how to do it. And to be honest, though we do know what the next thing is we are suppose to do, we often do not have any idea why the Lord wants us to do that or what His purpose or motivation is in having us do it. (I wanted to link another blog post I wrote here, but I cannot seem to access those either….lovely blogging issues! I’ll figure it out later…..but the one about my process of applying for the job at the beginning of this year…… That one seems to fit here nicely. I had a direction to go and thought we were moving. We never moved. It was all about the process of unlocking my heart and really recognizing what I wanted and why……I thought it was all about moving and getting another job.)
The point is, because we do not always know the mind of the Lord, we have to learn to trust Him and follow Him and do what He asks of us even if we do not understand why or how. How we can receive instructions for. They why, we may never know. But if we know that God loves us, wants what is best for us, won’t ask us to do things that will hurt us (eternally), and knows all, is perfectly just, perfectly merciful, and loves us more than we can imagine, we can and should trust that.
In my experience, I have found that when He asks me to do something that is hard, or painful, or embarrassing (like apologize to someone I have wronged), or makes me feel self-conscious, if I will just exercise a particle of faith and try to do what He asks, it always turns out better for me in the end. I am going to share one more story to illustrate the point, another time things didn’t turn out so well, at least in my initial assessment of the situation.
A friend and I were called by a new convert in our ward. She was struggling and wanted someone to talk to. We went over to help her. We discussed her situation, which was nothing more than ‘I have been hurt and I don’t know what to do’. My friend and I discussed the atonement with her. We went over the basic, basic doctrines of that process. Somehow in our discussion, something we said in teaching the basic doctrine of the atonement offended her. We could see it in her face. We asked discerning questions about her understanding, read some scriptures and left as friends, thinking we had fixed the problem. The next Sunday, our new convert was not in church. During the church hours, she had left a very nasty message on my answering machine.
I was heart broken. I prayed for help and read my scriptures. I wrote her a note of apology and included some of the verses of scripture I had read. I took the note over to her home and knocked. When she opened the door and saw it was me, she scowled at me, yelled, and slammed the door in my face. I left, sobbing, and dropped the note in the mail. This was not going to be a situation that resolved easily, if at all.
As I got home and pondered the situation, going over and over in my mind what I had said, how I had behaved, at what point did I cause offense, did I say something wrong or imply something incorrect, was the Spirit not there when I spoke, what did I do wrong???!!!! As I went over and over these things in my head, the Spirit said, “Aren’t you glad that it wasn’t your family you offended?”
The question repeated, “Aren’t you glad that it wasn’t your family you offended?” I still didn’t understand. How would I have offended my family?
“Sister So and So was offended because she was not ready to hear the doctrine you shared with her. When you go home in the next several weeks, do not teach anything. You are not there to teach. They are not ready to hear what you have to say. Say nothing.”
It was the only time in my life when I have been told NOT to testify or teach. The Lord allowed me to have the experience with Sister So and So, so that I did not have to have the same experience with my family. Realizing that, I became extremely grateful for my not so pleasant interaction with Sister So and So.
We do not usually know all of the reasons the Lord asks us or inspires us to do certain things. But if we will exercise our faith to act on those promptings we know are from Him, we open the windows or doors to allow Him to bless us in ways we would never even imagine. But to do that, we have to trust Him and that is hard for most of us to do.
Do you have a similar experience?