Seeing the pain in my friend’s eyes made my heart ache. In her situation, she struggles to feel like her life has purpose and direction in the context of the restored gospel. My challenges are not the same as hers, but I, like many others, have also struggled with the same underlying questions:
Where do I fit in? Is God’s plan of happiness possible for me?
I’ve experienced times where the situation at hand feels at odds with God’s direction or His promises, making it impossible to see how they could ever be fulfilled. Like when I felt prompted to enter a relationship, believing it would work out, and it didn’t after all. Or when my mother, as she battled cancer, was promised in a priesthood blessing that she would be healed, but she passed away a short time later.
I think we as humans crave certainty and control. When we encounter complex issues and situations—more general ones like polygamy or priesthood restrictions, or intensely personal ones like having same-sex attraction or dealing with a devastating divorce or death—we want to make sense of them. We want to know why it’s happening and how everything is going to work out. In the absence of a clear explanation, we or others may invent one.
The truth is, sometimes we have to grapple with ambiguity. As much as we want Him to, God does not always give us neat explanations that tie up in a bow. He is His own interpreter; He reveals Himself in His own way and in His own time, line upon line.
There are a few insights that have come as I’ve navigated times of uncertainty.
1. What I do know helps me have the patience to grapple with what I don’t.
Since my mom passed away, I’ve often reflected on Nephi’s exchange with the angel when the angel asks, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?”
After what I imagine was a moment of profound reflection, Nephi responds, “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:16–17