In Life’s Test, Not All the Problems Make Sense
If a participant in this Test feels like he must understand the intent behind every question he encounters, this exam will frustrate him. The Teacher sees things in ways different from the way we see them.
“Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made; The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eye . . . (D&C 38:1,2).
His pre-creation view of eternity, and the presence of all things before his eyes, provide Him with a perception of our lives that we can never experience without divine tutoring. Thus the Teacher cautioned,
“Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation” (D&C 58:3).
Since we cannot behold the designs of Teacher, and since we cannot see the future with certainty of any kind, we must trust in His wisdom when challenges come for which we cannot perceive any reasonable purpose.
Nineteen years after the death of my father, my mother remarried. Within three years, her second husband was dead and she was living alone with her advancing blindness in the house he had left her. Even though I had a sister living near her, I felt a need to move to the city where she lived in order to be of assistance. I told those in charge of assignments for the Church Educational System (Seminary and Institute), my employer, that I wanted to be moved to the Logan Seminary if possible.
I explained my concerns about my mother and was told that every effort would be made to accommodate my request. My wife and I prayed often about this, keeping the Teacher informed of our hopes. No selfish desires clouded this request. Even though my wife and I met and married in Logan, we had no desire to live there again, except that my mother was there and she clearly needed me.
When assignments were made in April for the following school year, I was informed that I would not be moving to Logan to teach. There were no openings for me in the seminary there. I was disappointed, profoundly disappointed, but I resigned myself to the circumstance and resolved to apply again the following year.
In the summer before the new school year began I attended a meeting of CES personnel at BYU. While there, I encountered the principal of the Logan Seminary, a dear friend and former bishop. He had a question for me.
“Ted, why did you decide not to come to Logan?”
“I didn’t decide,” I said. “You didn’t have any openings.”
“No openings?” he replied. “Ted, we put three new teachers in the Logan Seminary for next year. They could have gone anywhere.”
Suddenly my feelings about the situation changed. I could not understand why my request—my righteous request—had not been granted. Why had the Teacher not intervened to get me to the place where I was needed? I knew what was best. Didn’t he?
These were my feelings on the day I met the principal from Logan, and for several weeks after that. What had happened made no sense at all to me. Everything I could see with my natural eyes suggested that I should be moving to Logan that summer.
But just weeks after school started, my mother, who had always been fiercely independent and who loathed the thought that she might become a burden to one of her children, surrendered her independence. She gave her home to the children of her second husband and moved to Orem, where I live, and into the home of an older sister one half mile down the street from my own home. Wouldn’t I have had fun in Logan?
And just a few months later, my sister and her husband accepted a call to preside over a mission beginning the following summer. Mom needed a new home for three years. When the time came for the move, we only needed a few hours to move her and her belongings to my home.
How grateful I was and continue to be that the Teacher did not give me what I had pled for. How thankful I am to worship a being who can see the wide expanse of eternity and allow things to work together for the good of his children.