In October General Conference this year, Elder Uchtdorf said:
"We need an ongoing, daily infusion of heavenly light. We need 'times of refreshing.' Times of personal restoration."
Mid-singles who have experienced painful losses often feel a sense that the identity, happiness, and wholeness they once felt has been shattered.
Speaking of the restoration of the gospel, President Nelson said in October Conference, "The Restoration is a process, not an event[.]" We suggest that personal restoration after profound loss is also a process. It is like a garden that grows from good seeds. Your restoration involves sowing the seeds of faith and of new relationships, watering those seeds with hope, and fertilizing them with spiritual nourishment and personal development efforts. It involves patience in waiting for our seeds to grow into plants and bear fruit. It is unavailing to stand over your plants shaking your fist and shouting at them to grow faster--though many of us are tempted to do just that in our various pursuits.
I think many of us who have felt desperate in our situations were tempted to tell the Lord that we want it fixed NOW! In a talk entitled "Give us this Day Our Daily Bread," Elder D. Todd Christofferson told an audience at BYU about encountering a serious financial crisis:
"At times this challenge threatened the welfare of my family and me, and I thought we might be facing financial ruin. I prayed for some miraculous intervention to deliver us. Although I offered that prayer many times with great sincerity and earnest desire, the answer in the end was “No.”
Why was the answer "No"? Was his desire to provide security for his family and unrighteous one? Was his desire to be free of stress and fear unrighteous? Elder Christofferson explain to some of the things he learned as he was required to endure this crisis without a miraculous solution:
"Finally I learned to pray as the Savior did: 'Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done' (Luke 22:42). I sought the Lord’s help with each tiny step along the way to a final resolution."
This next quote is a little long, but worth reading:
"There were times when I had exhausted all my resources, when I had nowhere or no one to turn to at that moment, when there was simply no other human being I could call on to help meet the exigency before me. With no other recourse, more than once I fell down before my Heavenly Father begging in tears for His help. And He did help. Sometimes it was nothing more than a sense of peace, a feeling of assurance that things would work out. I might not see how or what the path would be, but He gave me to know that, directly or indirectly, He would open a way. Circumstances might change, a new and helpful idea might come to mind, some unanticipated income or other resource might appear at just the right time. Somehow there was a resolution."
Elder Christofferson learned to submit to the will of the Lord, and to trust in Him to show him the way, even when it wasn't being shown in the moment. That trust in the Lord brought him peace.
Elder Christofferson expressed gratitude for the trial. This is how he expresses what it taught him:
"The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years taught me truly how to pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a very practical way to have faith in God. I came to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father in a way and to a degree that might not have happened otherwise. . . . I learned that manna today can be as real as the physical manna of biblical history. I learned to trust in the Lord with all my heart. I learned to walk with Him day by day."
Why did the Lord answer Elder Christofferson's desperate pleas for miraculous intervention, "No." Because He was preparing him to be an apostle, and teaching him to patiently persist and trust in a God that was bigger than his problems.
Elder Christofferson urged throughout his talk that, when confronted with a massive problem, we need to be satisfied with daily small steps toward resolution. The headings of different sections of his talk are illustrative:
”Look for what is needed each day."
"Looking to God daily for our needs nurtures faith"
"Trust in the Lord--solutions may come over time"
"Work through large problems in small daily bites"
"God's daily bread is needed in reaching our potential”
Sometimes the Lord intervenes in a miraculous way to simply take away a big problem all at once. More often, He allows us to work through it step by step with His help so we learn how much we need Him and we learn to love and be close to Him. We learn to rely on Him daily, even when the need is not so readily apparent.
Many mid-singles and former mid-singles can relate to the kind of desperate prayers Elder Christofferson said, pleading for help. Many of us have stared into the dark abyss, having lost everything materially and, more importantly, eternally. Many of us have been closer to being homeless than we ever wanted to be or thought we would be. Many of us have understood why people give up and end their own lives. They just want the relentless pain to stop. As Abraham Lincoln said, in the depths of the civil War that was threatening to tear America apart, "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.”
If you are weary and overwhelmed by all of the things coming "at" you, remember to believe in a bigger God--a God that is more powerful than all of your problems. Remember that great men and women have been driven to their knees too. God may not take your burden from you immediately--usually He doesn't. But as your heart heals and changes, so will your circumstances. As you seek his help to make a plan and take small daily steps toward resolution, and trust in his wisdom along the way, the resolution will come. Learn to trust the process and have peace that the Lord will provide you with your daily bread.
As Elder Uchtdorf said, "We need an ongoing, daily infusion of heavenly light," which will begin to heal and repair your heart and renew your strength. Trust the process and be patient and calm. You "that wait upon the LORD shall renew [your] strength [you] shall mount up with wings as eagles" (Isaiah 40:31).