From one of my favorite talks by S. Micheal Wilcox, "The Fourth Watch".
Have you ever looked back at a time in your life, when you thought Heavenly Father wasn't answering your prayers but then after some time had past, realized that he did? Just maybe not the way you wanted him too?
I'm guilty of that.
In Luke 11:9-
"9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
13 If ye then, being evil , know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give athe Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
Sometimes we pray for bread. Heaveny Father gives us bread but it wasn't the KIND of bread we wanted and because we kept thinking about the kind of bread we wanted, in our minds, its tantamount to being given a stone. Or we ask for fish but we are not given the flavor of fish we wanted so we turn it into a serpent. Or you ask for an egg but it's not cooked the way you wanted it cooked so in your mind it might as well be a scorpion.
CS Lewis said there are two kinds of good:
The EXPECTED good and the GIVEN good.
All things given from God are GOOD.
God does not give stones. When you need bread a stone is useless. Only bread is given. It might not be the kind of bread we wanted. God does not give serpents or scorpions, those are harmful. He only gives bread and fish.
Right now I am personally praying for several people that I love, friends that I care about that are going through HORRIBLE things. A friend whose adult daughter isn't speaking to her because of a difference of opinion - she wonders when she will see her and her granddaughter again, a young middle school aged girl I know of that is being bullied at school and desperately needs a good friend, a young girl that I used to work with in our church's youth program many years ago who recently became separated from her husband, a wonderful woman who is going through a devastating diagnosis that will forever change her quality of life.
I also am praying for a family in my church congregation that lost their twelve year old son last week to tragic circumstances. I do not know them but I mourn with them as a mother. I pray for them to feel arms around them and comfort from loved ones.
What does this have to do with bread?
Because even though I don't think for a minute that Heavenly Father INFLICTS this kind of thing upon us, I think sometimes they are allowed. I look back at some of the best people I know that have suffered through severe hardship and wonder if the hardship was the thing that made them awe-inspiring to me and everyone around them?
One of my favorite quotes (and I'm sorry if you have read this before on my blog, I posted it several years ago and I shared it in Institute a month or so ago) is from President Spencer W. Kimball. He was no stranger to physical trials. He said this:
“I’m grateful that my priesthood power is limited and used as the Lord sees fit to use it. I don’t want to heal all the sick—for sickness sometimes is a great blessing. People become angels through sickness. “Have you ever seen someone who has been helpless for so long that he has divested himself of every envy and jealousy and ugliness in his whole life, and who has perfected his life? I have. Have you seen mothers who have struggled with, perhaps, unfortunate children for years and years, and have become saints through it? … No pain suffered by man or woman upon the earth will be without its compensating effects if it be suffered in resignation and if it be met with patience” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball , 167–68).
This quote is true of anyone who suffers in this life. Whether it is physical or emotional. I don't know why the people I care about are going through what they are. It is hard to see them suffer. But I know that one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed is when people lean on the Lord and trust in the power of His love to get them through hard times. It is truly Awe inspiring to watch the change take place. Like President Kimball, I have witnessed people become angels and I think I am about to witness a few more.