I’m a little sleepy this morning, but probably not as much as those on the east coast. Boy! That was a good game! We tuned in just before it was tied and hung on until the end. What a fun evening (and partial night for us) it turned out to be. The three of us had a discussion about how many people were probably praying for a certain outcome. I suspect that God was saying, “It’s just a game. I’m outta of this one.” Our daughter suggested that maybe God is a sports fan and that soccer is probably His chosen sport. Of course, she plays soccer and is right smack in the midst of tryout week, so it’s all that’s on her mind right now. She is a keeper (goalie) and wants to make the varsity team this year. Last year was her very first time ever playing soccer and is an animal at defending, which put her in the head keeper position on the junior varsity team. It’s amazing to watch as she takes no thought of dashing from one side of the net to the other and then throwing her body on the ground to stop a ball. She comes home with these big bruises and scratches on her hips. No thanks. I’m not sure where she gets her athletic ability. My husband did play volleyball in a city league for a few years after we were married and now plays Saturday morning football with a bunch of guys from church, but as a youth? Neither of us. I love to watch and cheer for her and to listen to her yell across the field to her teammates. She’s not afraid to tell them where they need to be to have a better handle on the ball. I’m not sure they can hear her, but her voice is like a beacon to me and it’s all I hear.
Do you think God feels that way about us, as individuals? I marvel at the thought that He can listen to all of us simultaneously. Really? How is that possible? Maybe someday I’ll know the answer to that, but it’s a big mystery to me. I think about that more and more as I take on a different, deeper study of prayer. I know He hears all of them – the ones whispered in a quiet moment and those on our knees while crying our hurts out. There must be millions speaking to Him at any given moment and yet He hears each prayer as an individual plea. How do I know? Because He answers prayers. If He answers, then He must hear us as individuals, not a group.
One truth about prayer that Kelly (Praying Upside Down) points out is that we “will feel God because you found time for God.” Even in those second long prayers when someone does something that you need help not being annoyed with, like someone cutting in line. (I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but come on, aren’t we all adults and passed that by now?!?) See? There’s an opportunity for a quick prayer to calm my emotions and to be more tolerant and generous in my patience. A little earlier in chapter eight, she says, “create a void and trust/expect/believe that God will fill it in just the right way.” God has a plan for each of us for each day. He knows how He can best use us – maybe to meet another’s need or maybe just to build our own faith. Just like hearing our individual prayers, He knows where and when and how we need to be, but as she points out, we have to give Him a little space.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, one of the First Presidency in our church, said in the Saturday afternoon session of general conference (there are five sessions – one both Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons and a special one on Saturday night for the men and yes, the women have their own session too, it’s just the weekend before),
Our beloved Savior knows where you are. He knows your heart. He wants to rescue you. He will reach out to you. Just open your heart to Him.
Don’t we all need to be rescued from something? I want God to know my heart. I want Him to reach in there and drag out all of the dark, unhappy places and fill it with light and life and His spirit. I want to become like Him, so that I can see Him everywhere. In a way I don’t understand, our Father (maybe that’s a clue right there) knows each of us perfectly, where we are, what we are doing, what we want to be doing, everything about us – all the time. That’s pretty comforting.
You know, I can only guess how alone Joseph Smith probably felt while beginning the work of translating the Book of Mormon. Here he had this amazing thing happen and now has these records, but has been told not to show them to anyone for the time being. Later, as people found out about them, there was no end to people trying to pry them away from him. What an awful situation to be in as a young man. To his relief, I imagine, God finally told him that he could show and share them with eleven other men and, a miracle in it’s own right, that an angel would show them to three others. That’s what the Testimony of the Witnesses page is. Those three men may have left the church later, but not one of them recounted what they had seen when that angel came to them with the record of Mormon. Their words? “Seen the plates,” “His voice hath declared it unto us,” “seen the engravings,” “angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, “the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it.”
The other eleven men were shown the plates directly by Joseph Smith with no heavenly assistance. Not only did they get to see them, but they got to touch them and move the plates around so they could see the various pages themselves. Now, God knew Joseph so well, that He knew He needed someone else he could show them to. I couldn’t have kept them to myself. I would have been desperate to show them to someone so that I could stop thinking I was crazy. How could this amazing thing happen to me and why can’t I share this with someone, anyone? God, are you there? I’m pretty sure those would have been my words and the cry of my heart.
Frequently, that is the prayer of my heart – “God, are you there?” Are you there when I’m sad and life doesn’t make any sense and I feel like I’ve done everything right and yet, I still got sick and had to give up the two businesses I was running? Were you there when my daughter tried to end her own life and we had to rush out of town to be with her not knowing the details? Are you there every single time I have to force myself to get out of bed and to stop crying for no reason? See, here’s the thing. I know He’s there and not just there, but holding my hand, rubbing my back and speaking soothing words of comfort. I know because I have felt it, which means He is always there doing that, whether I create a quiet space in my mind and heart to believe or not. God is there for all of us – individually – whether we know it or not, but how wonderful would it be if we could create some space for Him that would allow us to actually see His hand in our lives? Oh, what a wonderful miracle that would be!