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All of us have deep questions. Sometimes they are gut-wrenching, difficult questions that no one else can answer but God. I am a witness that He will give an answer to every question and a response to every ardent desire, depending on our readiness to receive what He wants to give us.
To address this topic, I want to share two profound personal experiences that have taught me:
30 Year Trial
For over 30 years I had a doctrinal question that I desperately wanted to fully understand I prayed fervently untold times about it, and fasted hundreds of times over it, but nothing would come. (I received many other personal revelations and inspirations during that time so I felt I had the process right, but never about this specific thing). After 25 years of this pleading, one day I was finally assured through the spirit that I WOULD receive the answer I was seeking. I just had to hold on to the sure knowledge that SOMEDAY I would understand.
I remember sobbing many times: “Heavenly Father, I’ve never prayed harder about anything. Why aren’t you answering me? At times I felt tremendous rejection, frustration and confusion about why He wouldn’t reveal it to me when I felt I had done all the right things to receive an answer.
FIVE YEARS LATER (That’s a total of 30 years)
Five years later the answer FINALLY came! It was a blessed day! I was “…filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory”(Helaman 5:44). I received ABSOLUTE UNDERSTANDING about the thing I had asked about! My spirit was finally satisfied! I was also given additional knowledge at that time and felt immersed in bliss! It was SO much more than I had asked for!
Even though it was tremendously difficult to continue to plead for those 30 years, I can now see the reason the Lord allowed me to wait so long. It was made known to me that I needed to rise up to a HIGHER SPIRITUAL PLANE to receive the knowledge He wanted to give me. He wants to do the same for all of us! We all need to stretch in order to receive more.
President Russell M. Nelson said this very thing: “I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that ‘if thou shalt [seek], thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.’” (Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives, “April Conference 2018)
Faith is Never Wasted
Most likely you won’t have the extended struggle that I had to receive an answer, but there is great wisdom in the Lord holding back knowledge and experience for a time so that we will seek, struggle and stretch. I can say with certainty that FAITH IS NEVER WASTED! All that fasting and pleading on my knees added up to magnificent experience. If you’ve been praying a long time for something, know that something wonderful IS coming!
Rise above the Problem
On another occasion as I prayed ardently to understand how I could solve a difficult problem. The spirit strongly said, “There is NO solution to this problem”… As I started processing that response, slowly realizing what it meant, I began to despair. At that very moment, I heard the words, “…at THIS level! In other words, at the level I currently was on, there was no solution. The fact was, I had to progress to a higher spiritual level in order to live above the problem.
Einstein realized this as he often said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” This principle applies to physical as well as spiritual resolutions. The higher the spiritual altitude we attain, the more knowledge, experience and solutions we receive.
More Than You Asked For
Think of the things you have begged the Lord for, and not received. Consider the possibility that the reason you haven’t received them yet is because He wants to wait until you have spiritually progressed enough so He can give you even MORE than you are asking for.
We are spiritual infants. We cannot understand much of what God understands, but we need to know that everything He does is precisely calculated for our good. He wants to give us as much and as fast as we can receive. The blessing comes AFTER the struggle of our faith.
Alma fervently petitioned the Lord for knowledge. He said:
“Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.” (Alma 5:46)
Fasting has the wonderful propensity for helping us focus more on the thing we’re praying about. The more focus we have in our prayers and study, the greater possibility that we’ll receive revelation about what we seek like Alma did.
Alma also stated:
“There are many mysteries which are kept, that no one knoweth them save God himself. But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know…” (Alma 40:3) The Lord WANTS us to ask and pay the price to receive so that He can reveal knowledge to us.
President Eyring prayed earnestly to have a certain spiritual experience. He acknowledged:
“I have prayed to be allowed to feel something of what Mary felt at the tomb…”
He was in Israel, and the guide took the group to the empty tomb. President Eyring marveled:
“We stooped to enter. We saw a stone bench against a wall. But into my mind came another picture, as real as what we saw that day. It was of Mary, who was left by the Apostles at the tomb. That is what the Spirit let me see and even hear in my mind, as clearly as if I had been there:”
This was an answer to his spiritual pleadings. He was ready to receive it! He also said:
“More precious than a memory of events is the memory of the Holy Ghost touching our hearts and His continuing affirmation of truth. More precious than seeing with our eyes or remembering words spoken and read is recalling the feelings that accompanied the quiet voice of the Spirit. (Henry B. Eyring “His Spirit to Be with you, April General Conference, 2018).
When we receive revelation, it always comes with great joy. That’s because we’re connecting to the presence of God. The FEELINGS are often a big part of the revelation!
How Do We Obtain Knowledge?
In Lectures on Faith it gives the process of how to receive knowledge and answers:
“How do men obtain a knowledge of the glory of God, his perfections and attributes? By devoting themselves to his service through prayer and supplication, incessantly strengthening their faith in him, until like Enoch, the brother of Jared, and Moses, they shall obtain a manifestation of God to themselves. (Lecture 2)
When we pray with real intent, (all the energy of our soul), it pushes us to new heights, and there new awareness is waiting for us. Every elevated spiritual stratum has built in knowledge and blessings. Are we willing to reach?
This is a critical time in the earth’s history. It’s the time of hastening for the church and the world. Do we think we can do things the same as we always have, and still move forward? No! We need to do things better. We need to live higher! In order to establish Zion, we must individually raise to the level of Zion. (Moses 7:18)
We can evaluate ourselves and ask, “What do I need to change to spiritually receive more than I’m receiving? What can I let go of in the world to allow more light in?” “What can I focus on and pray for that will help me rise to new spiritual heights?” Only we and the Lord truly know what we lack. When we honestly evaluate our lives, and then do what it takes to rise, we will receive. The Lord is WANTING to give us something big as soon as we meet His spiritual standards for the knowledge he wants to share with us.
President Nelson continues: “Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, ‘To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!’” (Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives”, April Conference 2018).
I am a witness that God will present us with those beautiful “secrets” in answer to our deep and heartfelt questions, as we plead, stretch, and become ready to receive.
You can CONTACT Anne at [email protected]