"We went west willingly because we had to" — Brigham Young
As my eyes rested on these words, I felt a keen sense of understanding even though our life's experience at this time does not even come close to the sacrifice shared by those who gave everything, even their life, following the voice of the Lord through his chosen prophet. The voice commanded the pioneers to cross the continent to establish faith — as an organization as well as faith of their own through the process. This faith enabled them to endure their trials, and even to joyfully accept the loss of their possessions, knowing that they could obtain a more “enduring substance” (Hebrews 10:34).
Changing the course of a life because you feel prompted takes on a complete new meaning when this change involves leaving behind a profession, a home, a country, possessions, comfort — and, more importantly, family and friends. As our family embarks on our own journey of faith while going through a similar process, these feelings ring true to my soul.
A few months ago, both my dear wife and I felt prompted to follow a simple voice we heard in our hearts to move back to France after living here in the U.S. for the first 10 years of our marriage. The hand of the Lord led us here in the first place, and we thought this would be our lifelong destination. But through unexpected recent promptings, we have been led on a path we never would have yet considered — taking our four little children, a few suitcases and boxes — and go back to the country of my birth.
Doesn't this sentence from our wonderful leader Brigham Young feel like bringing two opposites together? Doing something "willingly" because yet we "have to"? If it is something we are willingly doing, shouldn't it be something that we actually fully want to do rather than feel we have to do?
As I have struggled with this decision to accept the prompting because of the sacrifice it truly requires, the world's very enticing wisdom kept coming back to me as if we had completely lost our mind. Who in the world would leave a comfortable place to find themselves without a job, no home and so little to hang on to across the world? Who in the world would trust such feelings? Especially when they don't make any sense.
What I have discovered to a greater extent than ever is that for those like me who believe that God does live, that he is truly our father and that he is intimately aware of our needs and mindful of our true desires at heart, these words are not so opposite. In my earnest desire to make sense of anything I could, one thing finally did make sense. God knows me and my family, and knows where and how we could make the greater contribution at this time in our life. Who am I to question his wisdom and plan of happiness for us? If my earnest hope in this mortal life is to learn to become like him, then part of the process is to learn to align my will to his even when it is not so convenient.
I have followed promptings many times in my life and in so many different ways — but this time somehow feels different. This time there is something about this next life assignment that makes it even more heart-wrenching. While I have not yet discovered why it is so different, I have truly had opportunities to be stripped of any "relying on my own strength" and been exposed to understanding a new meaning of "trusting in the Lord."
As we embark on this process and continuously feel tossed and turned, as if we are to be refined for a purpose that is beyond our understanding, I have come to realize a few things about trusting in the Lord that have widened my perspective and enlightened my soul.
First, God truly loves his children and will be involved in our lives especially if we are seeking to do his will. We've all heard the phrase: "Be careful what you wish for." By asking the Lord to guide us and bless us, we truly don't realize that the next challenge presented to us might be the very answer to our request.
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