To read more from Kimberly, check out her new book; The Last Safe Place: Seven Principles for Standing with the Prophets in Troubled Times, co-written with Duane Boyce. It is available in paperback, ebook, and audio formats. CLICK HERE to learn more. 

When my dog Nutmeg was very young and unbelievably chubby and adorable, I went for a short hike with her and a good (human) friend. Nutmeg loved people with all her heart, and the greatest joy of her life was meeting new ones. Every time we passed other people on the trail, she would want to jump on them and run around them and chew on them with her tiny mouth and soft little puppy teeth. But every time we saw new people, I wrestled her into a “sit” position and tried to get her to wait for people to approach her rather than her jumping up on them. Many, many times I put that little baby dog in a sit position and held her collar, while she wiggled her tiny body with all her might and desperately tried to go love her new friends. Often, she was unable to restrain herself, and lunged toward her new best friends with yelps and squeals of distress as the leash and collar kept her away from them. Her sad little yelps of disappointment were devastating; all she wanted was to love people and kiss them and run in circles around their feet, and I kept stopping her.

After a while, my friend asked, “How do you do it? How can you look into those incredible eyes and not just give her everything she wants? She’s not even my dog and I can’t stand it!”

The answer was simple.

I could do it because I never forgot that she was an extreme breed.

Some dogs will never be more than 10 pounds, and although it’s nice if they’re polite and well-behaved, they aren’t going to do anyone much harm even if they are aggressive. Some dogs are naturally reserved, friendly, or harmless. But a few breeds are considered “extreme” – either by size or temperament, they are extreme because, without proper training, they can be dangerous as adults. And although most dogs can respond well to training at any age, these extreme breeds often have to be trained starting in puppyhood because by the time they are full-grown they are too strong and heavy to control. They have to learn to turn to their owners for guidance, direction, and permission before they are large enough to be dangerous. They must be reliably obedient. For some extreme breeds, there is a limited window of time for proper socialization and initial training or they cannot be trusted with people or other dogs. Without proper training, they spend their adult lives in muzzles and on chains.

My puppy, I knew, was going to be almost 100 lbs and have one of the strongest bite forces of all canines! If I wanted her to be a grown-up dog who gets to meet and love all sorts of people, she would have to be trusted not to jump on people, run around their feet, or touch them with her teeth. She would have to learn to obey me rather than her own impulses. I knew how desperately she wanted to meet and greet people, and I felt tugged by her sad little puppy heart when I didn’t let her. But if she hadn’t learned to control her jumping and biting impulses, she wouldn’t be safe to meet people and greet strangers now. And her adulthood will last a lot longer than her puppyhood did.

The only way to give her a life full of love is to not give her everything she wants as a puppy.

We, too, as mortal children of our Heavenly Parents, often desperately want things. Sometimes we yearn for things that are no good for us, certainly. But sometimes we yearn for things that are good, and righteous, and appropriate to yearn for. And yet many of us find ourselves looking up, with innocent, tear-filled eyes, and pleading, “Why can’t I have the righteous desire of my heart?”

Some yearn for a romantic relationship that isn’t appearing, for marriage that isn’t offered.

Some yearn faithfully for pregnancies that never start, or never successfully finish. Heartbroken couples yearn for an adoption that falls through.

Some yearn to serve the Lord on a full-time proselytizing mission, but health or other issues prevent them from serving. And some faithfully enter the mission field and, in spite of fervent prayers, find no one willing to listen to their message.

Some faithfully teach the gospel to their children, yet those children turn away from their teachings to follow other paths. Some pray for loved ones to accept, or return to, the covenant path, but they never do.

Some pray and plead for the dream job offer that doesn’t come through, or the academic admission that isn’t offered.

Some devote their hearts to a temple marriage, but are betrayed or abandoned by their spouse.

All over the world, righteous children of God in a variety of circumstances and for a range of reasons, are unable to accomplish their pure and loving desires, and ask God why He allows their suffering.

None of us know the meaning of all things, or can fully understand the purposes of God. But when we are struggling with an unmet desire, it bears remembering that we, as children of God and joint-heirs with Christ, are also an extreme breed.

We are entitled, through our faithfulness, to become gods and goddesses and inherit the power to create worlds. Can you imagine? The power and responsibility of godhood are beyond imagination. The winds and the waves will obey our wills. It is incomprehensible.

As human beings, we are just baby gods. We are impulsive and have puppy-level attentions spans compared to our Father in Heaven. Through our faithfulness, we may inherit phenomenal power over sin, death, and nature. If we do not learn Godlike patience and humility, if we do not learn to lean into the healing power of the Atonement, to trust the wisdom of our Father, to be obedient, then we will not be able to be trusted with His power.

The Lord withholding our pure and righteous desires during our earthly puppyhood is not an abandonment. It is his way of saying, “You are not ordinary! You are too powerful and have too much potential to be left to your own devices. You must learn to turn to me, you must learn to rely on me, because I am the only One who understands how to train you properly. The only way to give you a life of exaltation and power and authority in the eternities, is to teach you obedience now.”

My testimony is that God is not unmoved by our sorrows, disappointments, and unfulfilled longings. He mourns with us! And yet he allows us to experience such things so we will turn to Him for comfort and direction.

He doesn’t grant all of our desires because He never forgets how powerful we can become.

To read more from Kimberly, check out her new book; The Last Safe Place: Seven Principles for Standing with the Prophets in Troubled Times, co-written with Duane Boyce. It is available in paperback, ebook, and audio formats. CLICK HERE to learn more.