Your security system is broken.
You call in with a pleasant voice to ask rather reasonably for assistance in fixing the device. The call center agent runs through troubleshooting, using a language that comes from Silicon Valley. Of course, the troubleshooting fails and the call center agent transfers you to a supervisor, who says just about the same thing as their underling does.
By now, reasonability has gone out the window. The alarm has been ringing off the hook for a good hour, the baby in your arms is matching its cry with screams of its own and you’re pretty sure Jimmy is going to be late to soccer practice.
You find yourself screaming at the phone: “JUST FIX IT!!!” You hang up, rip the alarm panel off the wall and take Jimmy to soccer practice.
About a week later, a kind gentleman arrives at your home to replace the dysfunctional alarm system. A bit mollified, you breathe a sigh of relief that at least the ordeal is over.
There are occasions when I treat prayer the same way.
There is a problem in my life. I approach Heavenly Father on my knees with the reasonable request that the problem needs to go away.
The problem persists.
For a time, this is fine. I know I have to learn how to fix it. Trials are meant to help me learn, after all.
But the answer to how to fix the problem never comes, and it increases in depth and magnitude. Reasonability leaves, and in my prayers I demand emphatically: “JUST FIX IT!!!”
What I need to realize in those moments is that God isn’t a call center agent. He won’t simply fix our problems, but rather help us grow out of them. This is certainly good news and certainly can seem like bad news at times, but when we come to the realization that we are communicating with our Heavenly Father, we can have faith in His timing and answers.
Good News: He’s Been Doing This For A While
God is not a pimply nineteen year old who just finished his customer care training last week.
He has been in the business for a very long time.
An eternity, in fact. In Doctrine and Covenants 20:17, we learn about His eternal nature:
D&C 20:17— By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them;
This is the same God that created the Heavens and the Earth. This is the same God who has led Man from his inception to heights of unimaginable discovery and potential. Most importantly, this is the same God who has orchestrated a plan of salvation destined to give us the keys to the powers of godhood.
I think He has the capability of fixing a bad day. While he has the capability to do so, however, by no means should we want Him to do so, which leads me to my next point.
Also Good News But Feels Like Bad News Sometimes: He Knows What Is Best For Us
Customer care agents, believe it or not, do not always have our best interests in mind.
I can testify to this because I was one. Customer care work was the same, day in and day out: Help the customer fix the problem and move on. You will sometimes come across the golden agent who teaches you how to never have the problem again, but I wasn’t one of them.
Luckily for us, God doesn’t want to just fix the problem. He wants us to grow out of our problems.
In fact, His entire purpose is centered around our growth and eternal destiny. In Moses 1:39, we learn of that purpose:
Moses 1:39— For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
If a Being who had spent an eternity building the tools to help mankind achieve eternal glory doesn’t make a problem disappear right away, I think it is safe to say there may be a reason for it.
A story that resonates deeply with this subject is one given by Hugh B. Brown, told by Elder Christofferson in a General Conference talk. A short segment of this talk is below:
Trials, as we know, are meant to help us grow. Do we also know that they may be helping us grow into something we never imagined? That our own selfish dreams are not the destiny Heavenly Father has in store for us?
Hugh B. Brown didn’t get the promotion to become a general. If he had gotten it, there is no doubt in my mind he would have been happy for the rest of his life. It isn’t just our happiness our Heavenly Father wants us to achieve though. He wants us to become instruments for good, because when we become God’s violin, we play a harmony everyone can enjoy. When we succeed in this, then we know true happiness.
As a call center agent, I would just fix your problem and move on. God helps us reach a solution that enables us to become something that helps others achieve happiness as well.
Proof Of This Doctrine
Look at history if you want proof of this truth.
When Joseph Smith went into the woods to pray, he wasn’t looking to become a prophet. He was simply a humble boy who was willing to accept an answer, whatever that might be, from Heavenly Father.
He got a little more than he bargained for.
It would’ve been easy for him to accept the simple answer to his question: None of the churches were true. Yet because he was willing to grow into the role Heavenly Father was molding for him, he was able to do so much more.
If you and I can have the same mindset, I promise you we will produce fruit of immeasurable worth.