Sometimes I think most of my prayers amount to little more than that. And I suspect I am not alone in praying for such a thing. And yet if I understand Heavenly Father’s purpose for our lives, I think if He loves us, this is one prayer He will not answer.
This is not to say that we need to have lives full of misery and suffering. In fact, I think it is often the opposite: much of the misery and suffering I bring into my own life is more often due to me cutting corners, trying to make things easy, than it is because things are hard. In other words, I make things hard by trying to make my life easy.
Prayer, the Bible Dictionary tells us, consists primarily in aligning our own will to God’s. It continues,
Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ?s name at all; they in no way represent his mind, but spring out of the selfishness of man?s heart.
I think so much of the time in my life, I’m just running down the clock. I forget what an incredible gift Heavenly Father has given me, to live in a beautiful world, to have a body (even with its many flaws and illnesses), to be a member of the Church and hold the Priesthood. All those things mean that I should try to make every moment of my relatively short life count.
I’m still not going to enjoy suffering, but hopefully, if I align my will to God’s I can better understand how I need to grow. Rather than trying to avoid my problems or difficulties, I can hopefully figure out what growth I need to make to get through it. Rather than having the same old problems crop up in my life, I can get over those and encounter some new challenges.
I wonder, in fact, if suffering is God’s last resort method of growth. “Pain,” C.S. Lewis once wrote, “is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” If I can better attune myself to God’s will for me, maybe I can grow and learn through challenges and opportunities rather than through adversity and suffering.
So here’s what I resolve to replace my old prayer, the title of this post, with, when I am encountering some problem: “Dear Lord, what are you wanting me to learn from this situation? How can I learn this lesson as quickly as possible?”