Some people view God as an outside being who watches our lives from a distance, an entity that is far too concerned with the general picture of humanity to get involved with the individual details of our personal lives. I would like to suggest that perhaps it is not God that is too occupied or indifferent, but that we are too busy and self-absorbed to notice His hand in our lives.
I do believe that God will lead us beforehand to find the path that is best for us. Listening and recognizing those directions can help prepare us and lead us in the way we should go. We have to be doing what’s right and we have to ask in order to qualify for that direction.I have been reflecting a lot on that influence in my life throughout the years. I sense a divine current exists to guide me and shape me. Not only is that influence apparent after the fact, that I think God often prepares us for future events. I’m not saying that God predestines our lives. I very firmly believe that we all have agency to choose the path that we will follow, but I do believe that God will lead us beforehand to find the path that is best for us. Listening and recognizing those directions can help prepare us and lead us in the way we should go. We have to be doing what’s right and we have to ask in order to qualify for that direction.
Here are some specific examples from my life…
When I was in third grade, I knew I would marry my husband. I wrote it in my journal and told my family and friends. They smiled and chuckled at a silly little girl’s thoughts. Years passed and despite the lack of belief from others, I held firmly to my convictions. It was as if I remembered a truth from long ago. When my husband returned from his LDS mission at age 21, we finally dated for the first time. After only three dates we both knew we were to marry. “Crazy,” some people would say or “completely coincidental.” I might agree if this was only a single occurrence, but it is the pattern that has emerged in my life.
When we were engaged, I told my husband we would have several boys with a girl at the end. An experience I had when I was younger had left me with that impression. I remember he looked at me skeptically. As many of you know, we had three boys and a daughter at the end. Before my daughter was conceived, I went out and bought pink baby clothes. My husband found them stashed underneath my bed and confronted me with the purchase. He was seriously concerned that he was going to have to have me committed if our last baby was not a girl! Fortunately for me it was just as I had always thought. I knew that it was time for her to come.
After we finished medical school I felt an impending doom that a large trial was coming my way. It scared me, and I really wished to be able to avoid it. I thought perhaps that if I was really, really good that the Lord would spare me from it. For a long time I’ve struggled until I finally came to the understanding that such experiences were necessary for my growth and development. That I could not learn the needed lessons any other way.
That night when Scott and his dad took off to come home, I was walking with my children on the Galloway Trail. I was filled with so much love and gratitude for them. I remember feeling so very happy as I watched them play with and enjoy each other. Then the thought entered into my mind, “If something happened to Scott, you would be okay. This would be enough. You could be happy.” We reached the car and I picked up my phone to read the last text my husband sent me. “Love you, taxing, see you soon.” The next morning when I found out they had not landed in Omaha, I was reminded of that prompting the night before. It prepared me for what I needed to face. All along the promptings of the Spirit have prepared me for what was coming or for choices that were important for me to make.
Most of the time impressions are given in the moment that they are needed or only slightly before. As I listen for and obey those impressions, more are given to me, and I am guided carefully through the fog of life.I would not have been prepared to get married at age 18 right after graduating high school if I had not had that idea put in my head years before. Having grown up with all sisters, I might have been disappointed to have sons. But because I knew that I was to have boys and, I was prepared for that as well.
To be honest, most of the hints or impressions that the Lord leaves me are not so far in the future. Most of the time they are given in the moment that they are needed or only slightly before. As I listen for and obey those impressions, more are given to me, and I am guided carefully through the fog of life. I have watched that happen this year.
Not everything has been told to me about the future that lies ahead, but I have some hints, and I am following those to be better prepared and to help my children be better prepared.
What I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that God cares about us individually. If we turn to him then He can literally orchestrate our lives. We can always choose to follow a different path, but I know that his path helps us to find the most happiness.
If we turn to him then He can literally orchestrate our lives. We can always choose to follow a different path, but I know that his path helps us to find the most happiness.Some of the impressions I have felt about my future scare me to death! They are not what I would have planned, and I wonder if I will be equal to the task. Despite those fears of inadequacy, I know that the Lord has given those impressions to me so that I can adequately prepare myself. I know if I turn to Him, in the strength of the Lord I can accomplish all things. Setting my fears aside and moving forward in faith is a hard and difficult thing to do, but I see glimpses of a happy, rewarding, joyful future if I am obedient. In my mind as I go through scenarios, I am always left with the final thought, “How could I choose to do anything different than what the Lord asks me to do? Scott and I have already agreed to this difficult path so that we could learn and grow and help other people. What’s the point in changing that direction now?”
Questions to Ponder:
1. Are there times when you have been prepared with promptings for future experiences?
2. How can writing down those experiences and promptings help us to move forward with faith and hope?