No Answer

noanswer1Bob and Jane were in love. I mean really in love.

Their relationship started half way into the semester in their singles ward. She was in charge of the ward Break the Fast meal and he was hungry. They took note of each other as he passed through the food line – several times.

This casual meeting progressed at a steady pace until they found themselves facing the frightening prospect of the next phase of their relationship – marriage.

Being well-engrained into the LDS world and wanting total clarity before they committed to an eternal relationship they both desired, they set a date to fast and pray about their decision.

To be sure, they had been praying individually for weeks, but now they felt it was time to formally unite their petitions to God.

The agreed upon date came and went.

They met together after their fast to determine the results. That was when their crisis hit. Neither of them received the clear “burning in the bosom” answer they wanted –the answer they assumed they were promised.

noanswer2Instead, they got no answer.

Now what?

Deeply saddened by this result, they determined the only correct course of action was to end their relationship. Neither of them wanted to go down this awful path. But without God’s approval, they felt uncomfortable growing their relationship.

Before the demise of their relationship was final, they happened upon a conference talk by Elder Richard G. Scott called The Supernal Power of Prayer. In this talk Elder Scott explained that while the “stupor of thought” or “burning bosom” are real and do happen, the most common communication from God is no answer.

No answer does not mean no for an answer.

Rather, it means you should assume God approves of your decision and you move forward with faith, thanking God for trusting your decisions.

Thrilled by this common-sense approach to prayer, Bob and Jane put this advice to the test.

noanswer3Without exact clarity they got engaged.

Lacking a divine revelation, they got married.

Then, weeks into their marriage they both received the divine confirmation they sought.

I use this story to remind us we are here on earth to live by faith. Faith demands of us the need to proceed without clarity.

I have counseled with people who would stop working towards a desired goal simply because they lacked complete clarity of what God wanted them to do.

In these cases, I would ask them to imagine they were sitting on a bench with God by their side.

noanswer4They were waiting for God to make a move.

God was waiting for them to make a move.

Over time, both got tired of waiting and walked away.

God does not want to make our decisions for us.

While it is true we are promised answers to prayers, God is not bound to a timetable – least of all our timetable.

Most times He wants us to proceed in faith with the promise that clarity will come.

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