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We’ve all seen it: A little kid gets into the elevator with his or her parents, and begs to press the button that directs the elevator to the right floor. And invariably, all parents indulge this trivial request, and allow our child the thrill of pushing the button, watching it light up, and then knowing the elevator is on its way.
It’s such a simple pleasure. In the grand scheme of life, few things are less important, really, than who gets to press the button. Unless you’re four. And to a child, that button is a huge deal. So we all step back, and let whatever child just got on, reach for the button and experience the delight of controlling the giant box we’re riding in.
Now think about the things Heavenly Father cares about. His glory, and what he most wants, is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. He says so in Moses 1:39. This means temple ordinances, missionary work, getting people to repent, relieving the true suffering in this world, the really monumental things in life.
Now look at some of the things we pray for. I’m not saying our prayers are stuffed with nothing but fluff—many of us pray earnestly for the same things God wants, and pray for help in doing His will. But our little wishes also creep in from time to time. Please help us win this game. Please help me get a good grade on this test. Please help this wedding reception go smoothly. Please help it not to rain for our picnic. Please help me get that job/car/house.
These are not bad things to pray for, but seen from an eternal perspective, they’re on the level of wanting to press an elevator button. Someday, probably after we’ve passed through the veil, we will look back at many things we got terribly worked up about, things that seemed very important in mortality, and we’ll realize they just… weren’t.
I wonder if Heavenly Father sees us the way we see a little kid in an elevator. Cute, innocent, young, unaware of greater concerns. And, simply because He adores us, He often grants these small requests, even though they have no bearing on our eternal progression. He does it for the same reason we allow a child to press the button—because it brings us joy. And that’s what loving parents do. If it matters to us, then it matters to Him.
He doesn’t try to yank us into greater spiritual maturity; he patiently indulges us as He waits for us to learn and grow, hopefully advancing through the “button” stage, and on into the realm of caring about our fellow man, and seeking closeness with the Savior. But until we can raise our sites and become less self-centered, He gives us many of the little things we ask for, the same way we allow our children the tiny pleasures that are so important to them at this point in their lives.
I have prayed for some really silly things. Looking back, they weren’t things that mattered much. But, incredibly, God granted me a tender mercy and showed me He was listening. I could see His hand in my life, and knew that, even though my desire was for some minuscule thing, He cared. I am His child, and if it’s a priority to me, He also, lovingly, makes it a priority to Him.
So, next time you’re in an elevator and you notice that you’re smiling because a child is smiling, remember that God does this, too. We are truly His children. He loves to grant our desires, and when we feel joy He does as well.
Watch the music video of Hilton’s song, What Makes a Woman, from her new musical, The Best Medicine (with music by Jerry Williams). Her books and YouTube Mom videos are available on her website, here. Hilton currently serves as a Relief Society President.