Sunday, November 29, 2009

In Which Deb Ponders a Religious Issue

(Seriously.)

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.

6 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I loved your analogy. Perfect.

Lizzy said...

I never thought about it from that perspective before. Thanks for your insight.

Joanna said...

Thank you.

Sneaky Momma said...

That makes a LOT of sense. :)

Mummy McTavish said...

There is still definitely need for an absolute "no" as an answer to prayer just as there is in parenting. I was told prayer is always answered, "yes, no and not yet", but I can see how your scenario works too, and like you are there with princess even though she is doing the looking God is there with us all the time too. Now I just need to figure out how to recognise the times God wants me to try it myself so I can grow and the times He wants me to ask him for help and I'm just to darn stubborn.

Barbaloot said...

Sometimes I prefer to cry and pound my fists. Why do I have to find a husband ALL by myself?! :)