You see, there have been many times in my life when I've felt like my prayers were ignored by God. However, as I consider these experiences, I can see that rather than disregarding the pleas that I had made, Heavenly Father was actually giving me an answer, the answer I didn't want:
Please take away these overwhelming attractions. Please heal me of my chronic illness. Please help me to forget traumatizing memories. Please help me to fit in. Please help me to be accepted by the guys in my quorum. Please help me be good enough to be a leader in my mission. Please help me to get the dance solo. Please let me get an 'A'. Please bring my friend back. Please free my loved one of crippling addiction. Please help me get married.
Perhaps in time God will grant me the fruition of these desires. But for better and not for worse, the Lord is not a Santa figure, nor a spoiling parent. He is the omnipotent ruler of the universe, and sometimes the answer is simply "No."
We all have a thorn that we'd appreciate the Lord removing. However, all of these denials mold our souls into the deities we're becoming. The harrowing rejections we face forge the steel of our testimonies.
My friend Judy knows this all too well. Her well-organized life was all going according to plan until one fateful night. Listen to her story:
This brings us to the painful fact that we must have faith enough to accept the denial of healing, stability, and answers, sometimes temporarily, sometimes throughout mortality.
As I've probably referenced before, I often ponder over the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, wherein they are forced to choose between idol worship or painful death. These three young men knew the risks of discipleship. They recognized that the Lord could easily choose to let them die. Despite the deadly consequences of such a decision, the three took the chance and surrendered their wills to the Father:
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. (Daniel 3:17-18)
Do you have faith enough to continue believing after the Lord says "No"? I promise that the Lord is well aware of our dedication and rewards us for our battle-tested faith.
(P.S. Judy asked me to be in this clip with her, so you can actually see me in action!)