It's referred to, in LDS-land, as "struggling with your testimony." Catholics poetically call it "the long dark night of the soul." Others may call it "a dry spell." It is when your faith in God is tested, when you seem to receive no answer to prayer, when you struggle to keep going forward even though you suddenly question your faith.
I don't know a single religious person of any denomination who has not gone through this. Some never return to their faith, but those who make it through generally are stronger and more confident in their faith afterwards. I have never given much thought to why this happens, other than temptation and human weakness. An author/blogger online acquaintance of mine suggested in her blog that, perhaps, God allows us to enter this spiritual abyss deliberately by taking a step back from us, forcing us to continually reevaluate our commitment to our faith.
It was an interesting thought.
I've always known that there is no such thing as an "unanswered" prayer, if "unanswered" means "ignored." Sometimes God's answer is "No," that's all. However, now I'm wondering if sometimes the un-answer isn't "No." Maybe sometimes the answer is, "Sure, but you have to do it yourself."
Of course, this came to me as I was having a discussion with Princess:
"Mommy, where is my Snow White doll?"
"I don't know, honey."
"Mommy, you need to find it!"
"Have you looked for it?"
"No, I don't know where it is!"
"Look for it, and if you can't find it, come back to me and I'll help you."
Of course, I know where the Snow White doll is. As a matter of fact, I was looking at the Snow White doll throughout that entire conversation. But Princess is old enough now to do things for herself. The conversation above did not end with Princess looking for her doll. She sat on the floor and cried, then banged her fists on the floor, then pitifully asked for my help again. Steeling myself to be a good parent No Matter What, I did not help her. She went off and did something else, but when she came across Snow White a few minutes later, she was so excited! "I found it! I found it all by myself, Mommy!"
How hard must it be for God not to just give us everything we want? How much must He love us to stay out of it and let us do it ourselves? And how much joy and relief is there when we finally accomplish our goal?
Like any good parent, He wants us to be self-reliant. He wants us to make it on our own. He's rooting for us to succeed. It's nice to know.
Business, Game Of Thrones-Style - “We own a family company. Mom thought she bought a map of the the world for the conference room.” (via source)
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