“Faith is like a little seed. If planted, it will grow.” That is what I had been taught for years. It’s what I taught others while serving a mission. For me faith wasn’t an issue. I knew I had faith in God and his Son Jesus Christ. I knew that my prayers had been answered in the past and they would be continued to be heard.
Then one day everything changed.
I awoke one morning to a text saying my dad wasn’t okay. I was in shock as I made phone calls and drove to the hospital. The reality of the situation didn’t even set in as I walked into the ER to comfort my mom and saw my dad surrounded by doctors.
For the next several hours, I prayed and pleaded with God. I witnessed my siblings do the same thing in that stale hospital hallway, praying with more faith than ever before. Surely if we wanted it bad enough, our dad would be okay. God performs miracles all the time, right? We fully believed that if we had the faith, our Heavenly Father would heal our earthly father. Unfortunately, the outcome we so desperately wanted didn’t come. I had to watch my own father pass away so unexpectedly.
I can remember one moment, right before my mom came to tell us the news, that the thought came to mind, “Do you have the faith for him to not be healed?” It was that thought that gave me peace as I heard my dad’s earthly journey had come to an end.
This idea stems from a talk I had heard many times before this day. Ten years prior to this event in my life, Elder Bednar gave a devotional to young adults titled, “That We Might ‘Not Shrink” (D&C 19:18).
I have since been intrigued by the idea that he proposes:
Strong faith in the Savior is submissively accepting of His will and timing in our lives—even if the outcome is not what we hoped for or wanted.
For 21 years of my life, I had mostly gotten what I had hoped for. My life hadn’t been perfect or easy but nothing major had gone wrong.
So when my will really did not align with God’s will for me; I was hurt.
I am now on this journey of learning to better accept God’s will and putting my full trust in him. I have a long way to go, but here are three things that have helped me along the way.
Expanding My Perspective
One of the best things for me has been learning more about the Plan of Salvation. The Plan of Salvation is central to our beliefs. We believe that life on earth is but a small part of the entire plan. There was life before earth, where we chose Christ and to come to earth. Then there is life after death, giving us the opportunity to be with our loved ones again. This knowledge has helped me feel more at peace with trusting God’s will. I know that even though I don’t remember my pre-mortal life, I knew what challenges earthly life would bring me and I still chose to be a part of it. This eternal perspective helps me look forward with faith and hope for a happier day.
Setting Aside Time to Listen
Through life’s ups and downs, talking to God is crucial. I have been learning to pray with real intent, making my prayers more of a conversation with Heavenly Father. No conversation should be one-sided. So, I pray and then I wait. I give myself time to listen to the thoughts and impressions that come during and after a prayer. I feel that as I express myself in prayer to God and then wait, it gives God the opportunity to express His will for me also.
President Kimball taught: “Prayer is such a privilege—not only to speak to our Father in Heaven but also to receive love and inspiration from him. At the end of our prayers, we need to do some intense listening—even for several minutes. We have prayed for counsel and help. Now we must ‘be still, and know that [he is] God.’ (Ps. 46:10.)”
President Gordon B. Hinckley is known for saying, “I don’t know how to get anything done except getting on my knees and pleading for help and then getting on my feet and going to work.” Faith truly is an action word. We show our faith by acting. Whether or not we or someone we love is healed, life continues. We must continue to take action and move forward with faith.
Having the faith to not be healed is not easy. There will be times of doubt and frustration but God has a plan, His will is better than our will.
I echo the words of David A. Bednar, “I do not know why some people learn the lessons of eternity through trial and suffering—while others learn similar lessons through rescue and healing. I do not know all of the reasons, all of the purposes, and I do not know everything about the Lord’s timing. With Nephi, you and I can say that we ‘do not know the meaning of all things’”.