Lesson Number One: An argument with God
We already know how this lesson ends….I lose. I should too. After all, He is God. So, here’s what happened. There is someone I used to pray for regularly, even fasting often for them, out of love and care. Then, he did something that was extremely cruel, and continues to do so. I was hurt. I was angry. I even re-evaluated if this gospel was true. Then, I continued to pray for him, having faith that God would eventually soften his heart and he would become repentant.
Months went by and the cruelty continued. I’d had it. Hence my argument. It went something like this:
Me: “Father, I don’t want to pray for______ anymore. It is too painful. It is easier to just try and put him out of my mind as much as possible.”
God: “I thought you covenanted to bear the brethren’s burdens at your baptism?”
Me: “I did, and I have been, but let’s face it, it’s not like he’s repenting anyway. He doesn’t care. I’m learning about agency. It’s not like the doctrine of total sovereignty. If he doesn’t want to repent You’re not going to make him. And he’s really mean. The only thing praying for him does is leave me trapped. He’s caused me endless problems.”
God: “Aren’t you glad your Savior doesn’t feel that way about you when you are struggling? or worse…sinning?”
God: “I am asking you to be his savior on Mount Zion. He needs someone who loves and prays for him sacrificially, even if he never repents. Just as there are millions of people whom your Savior died for who treat Him just as cruelly. Yes, it’s painful. Yes, it’s a sacrifice. But that is what We do for you everyday.”
Do you know how small I felt? Why could I not just love as the Savior does? Why did I have to get anything in return for that love?
Lesson Number Two: Cheerfully do all that you are able.
So, it is Christmas time. I work non-stop and had $0 for Christmas presents for my four children. I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit in any more working (without giving up sleep completely), but knew if my precious children were to have presents under the tree, I would have to. So, I began making calls. I checked with as many people as I could think of for extra work, telling them I needed to earn money for Christmas presents.
Though a couple said they would have some for me, it never materialized, although I made several reminders. I was beginning to panic. I began lowering the children’s expectations. Then they started to get worried. They didn’t say anything, but I could see it on their faces.
I wondered what kind of lesson I was teaching my children with my fear and doubt. So, I reminded myself and my children about a verse in Doctrine and Covenants.
“Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” D&C 123:17
Now it was time to live out what I taught my children. I continued to work as much as possible, trusting that the Lord would work out Christmas. Then, this week, the Lord revealed His arm. A man I do not know, that isn’t even a member, sent me a letter relaying that he and his wife know of how I am raising my children as single parent and they wanted to make sure the children had a good Christmas. Enclosed was a check for $500.00. That same day I received some cash from another person that they desired to go to the children.I started crying the moment I read the letter and announced to the children that we would be having Christmas.
They have since given me some very substantial wish lists.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for all the lessons you are teaching me every day. Prayerfully, I’ll be a better student.