Where In Lies My Faith?
by Kathy Penrod
I am sure I am not the only parent who, while watching their child, feels like their heart is walking around outside their body. On some days, that heart is full of joy. Then on other days, that heart feels like it’s being crushed into nothingness.
That was what this last week was like for me as I watch a child of mine painfully wade through that river of life – specifically the torrential currents of adolescence. As I watched this child face his trials head on, my heart broke. I smiled on the outside, offering words of encouragement and hope. On the inside, I cried. “Couldn’t Life cut this kid a break?”
As I sat in church today, I listened to my dear Bishop share his testimony of the Divine Plan that our Father in Heaven has for us. I heard him testify that, though life doesn’t always work out how we plan, we need to keep the Faith. I nodded my agreement. I felt what he was saying. It was good.
But then he spoke something that struck me on a very personal level. He quoted a recent talk from General Conference by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom. In his talk, Elder Hallstrom asks. “Is our faith focused on simply wanting to be relieved of pain and suffering, or is it firmly centered on God the Father and His holy plan and in Jesus the Christ and His Atonement?”
I thought back to the week I had had, a lot of time spent in prayer to relieve my child’s suffering. Make it better. Fix it. Make it go away. That was the essence of my prayers. However, if I am understanding Elder Hallstrom’s question correctly, then perhaps my prayer should be something more akin to “Please allow Thy will to manifest itself in my child’s life.”
Instantly, I realized that such a statement would require more faith on my part. More trust. Is my testimony in the Grace of God and His holy plan such that I can sincerely desire the will of the Father to take place? I realized, I had not been trusting Heavenly Father’s plan.
The interesting thing is, that the moment I realized where I needed to shift my focus, I felt such a sense of relief. It helped me realize, for the hundredth time in my life, that God IS in control. And, to truly have faith in Him, means to also have faith in His plan. To grasp hold of this thought, to have faith in Heavenly Father AND His divine plan, makes all the difference.
So, it is with renewed focus that I will pray for my sweet children. I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ that makes it possible to overcome mortal pain and suffering. I am grateful that our Father in Heaven allows us experiences that shape us into better people. Through Him, all things are possible. Even making it through this crazy, mixed up world.