One of the hardest trials of faith comes from putting God’s will first in our lives. Submitting to God’s will can at times be easy for us. However, there are times when it is very difficult to let go of what we thought was best for the immediate future, making God’s will our plan, and following through with His plan. Sometimes we realize right away that God’s will is the best way to deal with a situation, but oftentimes we don’t realize it until after the trial of our faith.
Right now I am going through one of those moments. I will be very honest with you. I am having a hard time recognizing whether the answer I thought I had received was the Spirit letting me know what God’s will for my life was right now versus maybe it was my own thought because I hoped that was the answer. I am still pondering the situation as I write this post. I am hoping that through our discussion my insecurities will diminish and your faith will be strengthened. I wanted to show you that I too am human. I am vulnerable to doubts just like anybody else. There is a part of me that wants to stay firm and says “You know how to recognize God’s voice when He speaks to you! Wait a little longer and your faith will be rewarded!” But there’s also a part of me that believes maybe it’s all a test to see how I will react in the situation if the opposite of what I hoped for actually happens. Only time will tell.
This all goes back to developing the attribute of patience. If you need a quick review or more insight, feel free to read What We Learn as We Develop Patience before continuing with this post. Christ demonstrated complete submission to God’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane as He was atoning for our sins.
39 ¶ And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Let’s explore these verses. The Savior instructed his disciples to pray so that they would not enter into temptation. To me, this is instruction for US as well. We are Christ’s disciples. We are faced with challenges. Some days we will have stalwart faith, and other days we will question things we thought to be true. Regardless of where we are on that spectrum, we need to be praying. I need to be praying specifically harder at this time so I won’t enter into temptation as I wait for God’s plan to unfold—whether I thought I had received an answer from Him or not.
What did Christ do next? He did the very thing He asked His disciples to do: He prayed. I cannot imagine what taking on the sins, sicknesses, trials, and afflictions of everyone that has ever lived on the earth and everyone that has yet to come to the earth would be like. The Savior asked for the cup to be removed but only if it was possible. I am sure Heavenly Father would have loved to come to His Son’s aid at that moment when He was in the midst of such great suffering, but He couldn’t. He sent an angel instead. The answer was encouragement; notice that the answer was different from what the Savior asked. The angel helped the Savior by giving Him strength while He was in agony. We don’t know all the details of how the angel accomplished this. All we know is that the angel was successful because the Savior was able to fulfill God’s will, but He had to rely on earnest prayer as He bled from every pore. Jesus Christ’s love for us was made manifest in those moments as He forgot about Himself and the great sufferings He was going through so that one day when we were in agony over the loss of a loved one, our sins, and our ailments, we wouldn’t feel all alone. I know I’ve mentioned this throughout the Atonement series before, but I will repeat it again: you are NEVER alone! Christ truly does completely understand you, and He will help you through all of your struggles.
When you are faced with doubts, much like I am right now, look for the ways that your prayers are answered differently. Who are the angels that are coming to your aid in the moments of doubt? Does a friend say the things you hoped to hear? Does a stranger’s smile give you hope that someone cares? When you feel alone, do you turn to the scriptures and find hope as you read about how others got through similar situations? Do you eventually feel strengthened to continue into the unknown? I am trying to let go of feeling sorry for myself. I am trying to immerse myself in things that God knows I am capable of doing so that I can feel joy. I don’t want to enter into the depths of misery in my current situation. I want to see the eternal perspective that God has for my life. Once I am able to realize why He allowed for things to work out the way they did, I know my faith will be strengthened. But for now, I need to continue in fervent prayer so that I can let go of my doubts.
Those of you who are familiar with the group Lady Antebellum know Hillary Scott’s gorgeous voice. A couple of years ago, I came across her Christian album! It’s super amazing! I hope you give it a listen! You can go to her website here to learn more about that album. Her song “Thy Will” always resonates with me when I am going through a tough time. I hope that you can connect with this song as well. Click here for the lyric video. As I was researching the video to share with you, I found her explanation of how this song came about. This was my first time listening to her speak about her song. Just wow. She is so strong, and yes, she may not have received what she was hoping for, but God worked through her and this beautiful song was created. Watch her explain the song here.
After you are done listening to the song, think back to some difficult times in your life where you had doubts even after following through with God’s plan for you. Maybe you are going through something similar right now, much like I am. Through the hurt, somehow we find strength to let go. How is that possible? When we lay our troubles at the feet of the Savior, who gave it all for us, He brings healing to our broken hearts. We may never fully understand why things play out the way they do, like Hillary losing her baby, but God has the entire picture. He knows what will bring us the greatest growth even through sorrow. Sometimes things just happen because of others’ choices or because of the way nature works. We have to learn to accept the outcomes, difficult as they may be. Humility is one of the greatest Christlike attributes we can develop, and we can learn to be more humble each time we accept God’s will over our own. May you find healing, answers, and hope if you’re currently going through one of those moments is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Atonement Series