Whenever we are in the midst personal challenges are we praying earnestly to our Heavenly Father asking for help? The key is whether our challenges are drawing us closer to God or taking us away from God. Are we patient in affliction and trust the Lord. The Apostle Paul said to the Romans, “…we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope…” (Romans 5: 3-4 in the Bible). An ancient prophet also counseled, “…thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.” (2 Nephi 2: 2 in the Book of Mormon)
Can Our Prayer’s Answer Be No?
“Alone in my home and on my knees in tearful prayer, I asked Heavenly Father why things were not working out for me. Personal challenges during the previous two years had convinced me that I needed to move from the small town where I lived and find a different job. Despite many efforts, however, I had not yet been able to find an appropriate position.
As I sobbed and prayed to know why I did not seem to be receiving the help I needed, a peaceful, warm feeling came over me. I stopped speaking and just knelt there quietly. I knew that Heavenly Father was comforting me through the Spirit. To my mind came the passages of scripture that I had read many times during the previous two years and that had been a source of great comfort.
One passage says, ‘Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.’ (2 Nephi 4:28 in the Book of Mormon) The other passage which reassured me that my prayers were heard and that ‘all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.’ (Doctrine and Covenants 98:3)
So now, even though I still felt that I wanted to move from that town, I knew with all my heart that I would be OK. Heavenly Father was there, and I felt fine about staying if He wanted me to.
Just three months later I learned that my 24-year-old son, who was attending medical school in a neighboring state, had cancer. I spent the next three weeks with him at the hospital. Had I gotten a new job, I would have had no vacation time, no release time, no sick leave. I would have had to quit the new job in order to be with my son, thereby adding unemployment to my challenges.
I couldn’t help but think that the Lord knew what was ahead and so for the moment had said no to my prayer.
My son underwent chemotherapy, and during the first few months we had no assurance he would live. I felt I needed to move to the neighboring state where he was; I could not stand to be so far away when he was sick and still making the effort to attend classes at medical school. Thankfully, through a chain of events that indicated to me the Lord was helping me, I was able to get a job in the area where my son lived.
I lived in that area long enough to see my son marry his childhood sweetheart, regain his health, graduate with honors, and present me with my first grandchild. Soon I was blessed to marry a wonderful man who was a longtime and respected friend. When the time was right, the Lord opened the windows of heaven and blessed me. I continue to remember those blessings and the comforting words of the scriptures, and I pray never to forget.” (Linda Sims Depew “The Lord Knew What Was Ahead” in the Liahona Magazine January, 2004)
Increasing Our Faith and Heart-felt Prayers
What strengthens my faith is to realize that the “Great Creator” is my loving Heavenly Father and I am His son. If I trust in Him and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ and seek His help and direction He will help me through the challenges of life and lead me to accomplish my earthly mission and be prepared to return to His presence. The good news of the gospel is not the promise of a life free of sorrow and tribulation but a life full of purpose and meaning, a life where our challenges can be swallowed up in the joy of Christ
“For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet but is nigh at hand.” (Doctrine and Covenants 58: 4)