wait (verb): to stay in place in expectation of; to pause for another to catch up; to look forward expectantly; to be ready and available; to remain neglected or unrealized
As I read Elder Hale’s “Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done” from this past General Conference, I was filled with a bunch of emotions…and not all of them were good.
You see, about three and a half years ago when I was on my mission, I started to get sick. Several doctors visits, a few trips to the states (I served in Canada) and a CT scan later, and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I refused to go home. At the end of my mission, and several more doctors visits later, they still couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I’ll fast forward a few years, many diagnostic tests, medications, doctors, therapists, and frustrations later to here: the neurologist thinks I’m having localized seizures, and they’re setting off migraine-type reactions as an aftermath. In any case, nothing is conclusive yet, and it’s making school and work interesting.
Elder Scott said, “Does this mean we will always understand our challenges? Won’t all of us, sometime, have reason to ask, ‘O God, where art thou?’ Yes!…’weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’ Then in the dawn of our increased faith and understanding, we arise and choose to wait upon the Lord, saying ‘Thy will be done.'”
What happens when you feel like you’ve been through all that and it’s only gotten worse? You’ve had the joy of the morning, but after waiting and waiting you just seem to throw your ticket in your bedside table and go back to sleep?
I’m one of those delightfully stubborn people. Type A, I believe they call us. Some call us “doers.” In any case, we don’t take no for an answer. This can be incredibly good sometimes, but when it’s God and when it’s His will and you’re fighting against it…well, kids, I think they call that “kicking against the pricks.” It wasn’t very good for Saul, and it certainly isn’t very good for me.
Do you know how many times Elder Scott said the word wait in his talk?
I was told in several priesthood blessings that I would be healed from this–but not yet. Not now. That I would have to wait.
Waiting is not something I am good at. Waiting is a passive virtue, something that makes you feel that you are not actually doing anything to help accomplish the means to your end. And that’s when it hit me…we need to give up the control. We need to not only give up the control in steering the ship (because let’s face it, we’re not the captains here, and any attempts at believing that we are is a sad facade), but we need to give up control of trying to bear everything ourselves. I am reminded of something one of the elders on my mission passed along to me:
“When we are frustrated, we are taking the burdens upon ourselves, instead of letting Christ take the burdens for us.”
So while we wait the Lord we really need to weight upon the Lord.
weight (noun): a heavy object; something heavy, load; burden, pressure; overpowering force; relative heaviness
One of my stake presidents gave this beautiful talk once about the Atonement and described us taking advantage of it. He likened it to the poem Footprints (which I have always liked). He said that taking advantage of the Atonement was like that: that when you really got it, you could look over in the sand next to you and see the Savior’s feet sink a little lower with the weight of your burden. And you could breathe again. And you would just walk forward. Or you would just let him carry you, for awhile, until you could walk again. That depiction is so incredibly beautiful and moving, and yet it’s so hard for me to take into my life.
It’s not that I don’t think I deserve it. It’s just that I want to do it by myself. I want to show me that I can do it. I want to show Him that I can do it. And that’s not what He wants at all. Here He is, standing and shaking His head as I struggle beneath the weight, and all He wants me to do is reach out and give it to Him. Just hand it over, and follow beside.
“Every one of us is more beloved to the Lord than we can possibly understand or imagine. Let us therefore be kinder to one another and kinder towards ourselves, ” Elder Scott said. That reminded me of something that Elder Smith once said in a zone conference. He simply stated, “When you feel yourself being nicer to others–or being nicer to yourself, that’s a tough one–the Atonement’s working in your life.”
All I have to do is give it up. Give up the weight, and wait. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.