Several months later my hubbs, M, Grandpa W and I headed up to Idaho for a family reunion. We spent the night in a hotel and M was so excited the next morning.
"Where's Grandma?" she asked, her eyes full of yearning.
"What do you mean?" we asked.
"Where's Grandma?" she asked again, looking at us as though we should be able to understand such a simple question.
"Grandma's in heaven," we replied.
"I know. Let's go get her."
It took us a little longer than it should to realize M thought Idaho was heaven. It took quite a bit longer to convince her it wasn't heaven, that heaven was a place we couldn't get to unless we died. She was sure disappointed, and probably more than a bit confused. But she trusted us enough to accept what little information we had to give her.
As this memory popped into my mind I was quickly reminded of a scripture, found in 2 Nephi 28:30 (from the Book of Mormon - another testament of Jesus Christ).
30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
So many people I dearly love are enduring difficult times right now, including my sweet and wonderful mother. We were talking last night about understanding the need to put our trust in the Lord and place our faith in Him, yet how hard that seemingly simple act can be. She likened it to handing over our troubles, but being unable to really let go. Like playing a game of tug-of-war, when the only real way of winning is by giving in and allowing the Lord to take the rope.
As she'd been pondering this she had what I lovingly term as an "Ah-ha" moment. Her thoughts resonated with me and I wanted to take a moment to share them with you.
The Lord is with us in our trials, but we sometimes forget this little fact. He's not just there when things get really bad, or when we finally get on our knees to call upon Him. He's there ALWAYS, patiently waiting for us to get into sync with Him.
We struggle, we falter, we may even lose a bit of faith, but this my friends is called life. We are meant to struggle. We are meant to falter. We are meant to test our faith. It is only through this we can be made stronger. It is only through this we can prepare to gain greater knowledge.
At times the process can be frightening, especially when it involves our lives or our financial stability or our families. Uncertainties prevail and most often overwhelm, drowning out the peaceful whisperings of the Holy Spirit. Our desires to know what's going to happen right here and right now overshadow the little lessons being taught along the way.
As I thought about these two conversations - one with my daughter and one with my mother - I had an "Ah-ha" moment of my own. It's one I've undoubtedly had before, but it's remarkable and glorious how these things are brought back to the mind in ways that reaffirm what I've already been taught. Sort of like the promise of being given truths through two or three witnesses.
Even as adults, we are still our Heavenly Father's spirit children. He knows things we cannot possibly comprehend in our limited earthly views. He knows the experiences we must endure to help us move along line upon line, so that we may more fully understand precept upon precept. These things must be given here a little, and there a little. The vastness of His plan and our abilities to understand it if He were to tell us all would be like...trying to explain where heaven is to a two-year old.
Some are far more patient than others when it comes to the learning process. The ability to trust fully in our Father and Savior comes easily to certain individuals, while others must question and cry and pound their heads against a wall until they are able to begin trusting. Our Father, who created each of us and knows our individual quirks, and our Savior, who endured the Atonement and knows our limitations to a degree no one else can claim, are patient when it comes to both sorts of people.
If you're having a difficult time, whether it be your health, your money, your relationships, or whatever, remember you have a marvelous and holy Father and Brother who are standing with you all the way. Have the faith to hand your worries over to Them, to let go of the rope, and the learning can begin. Become as a little child, and recognize that just because you may not understand, it doesn't mean you can't simply believe.
Think of it this way. As adults we have a clearer picture of what heaven really is, much more than we did as children. Though you may not understand the purpose behind your troubles now, wait until the Lord knows you are ready to recieve the next line.
And in case you are wondering, I am happy to report, M no longer thinks heaven is in Idaho.