“Can you please just give me a break?” “Can I just have a moment to breathe?” “Why is this still happening when I’m doing the best I can?”
These are usually my first thoughts directed toward Heavenly Father when yet another trial is added to my plate—a plate that already seems to be spilling over with challenges. And it’s only natural for me to immediately ask for an explanation from God when I’m facing difficulties. I’m an imperfect and impatient person living in an age where some answers and some relief can be found instantaneously. But when it comes to those overwhelming challenges that make you feel like you are being torn apart at the seams, sometimes waiting on the Lord for an answer or for relief can seem unbearable.
I was feeling this way just as general conference was around the corner. There are some trials and difficulties in my life that I have been struggling to understand and learn from. Some have affected me for years. Most of the time I do my best to accept my circumstances, to trust God, and to carry on with the joy and peace that comes from living the gospel. But sometimes I’m just tired. And it feels like I’m riding a unicycle high up on a tightrope, trying to juggle multiple challenges at once, all while not even knowing how to juggle or ride a unicycle—and also being terrified of heights! I’m sure you can relate to feeling like this to some degree. Life gets so heavy in those moments when it feels like just one more minuscule inconvenience will cause you to lose your balance and collapse.
Well, that’s how I was feeling when general conference started. I had been praying the week before to receive some sort of impression during conference. I wasn’t looking for any particular answer, because with most trials, there’s usually not one fix-it-all instantaneous miracle solution. I was just looking for a way to gain more peace and courage and strength to carry on in some of these trials that seem to never end.
As I listened to conference, I felt humbled and inspired, and I felt the warmth of God’s love wash over me as I listened to the messages shared, but it wasn’t until I heard Elder Kyle S. McKay of the Quorum of the Seventy speak that I felt like Heavenly Father was speaking directly to my soul. Elder McKay taught that, “The immediate goodness of God comes to all who call upon Him with real intent and full purpose of heart. This includes those who cry out in earnest desperation, when deliverance seems so distant and suffering seems prolonged, even intensified.”
When I heard these words, my entire being snapped to attention and I wept—I ugly cried.
Over the next few days, I looked back at moments when I had felt like I was drowning in challenges. And that’s when I realized that I have received and I have felt that pure, strengthening, and miraculous “immediate goodness of God” sustain me against all odds many times in my life. I thought of those times when I managed to accomplish all I needed to, despite the pressing anxiety and fear clouding my mind. I remembered a particularly hard day when I was pondering in the temple, trying to find answers when another patron was prompted to hand me a tissue and tell me that God loved me. I recalled moments when I had felt like I could not possibly go on, and yet, somehow, I still did. Those were moments when the miraculous and immediate goodness of God carried me when I could not possibly carry myself. Elder McKay also testified of this, saying that “during such times, our mere preservation is a tender and powerful manifestation of the immediate goodness of God.”
This confirmation I received about the “immediate goodness of God” was the answer to my prayers. Did it solve all of my current trials? No. But it has given me the courage I need to keep moving forward in the thick fog of uncertainty. And it allows me to do so with joy, and with a newfound faith that no matter what I face or however long some trials may be. I know my Heavenly Father knows more than I do, and that will give me the peace and the strength I need to keep going—to keep juggling and maintaining my balance on that metaphorical tightrope of life.
Whatever you’re facing at this moment, whether it’s a trial that will last for only a season, or if you are long-suffering without an end in sight, I truly know from the bottom of my heart that as we do our best to be patient, to follow Jesus Christ, and to turn to Heavenly Father for mercy, He will help us do what seems impossible (see Mosiah 4:11-12). The Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to all for help and healing. And God will sustain us in a variety of ways with the peace, comfort, and strength we need to carry on. Our answers may not always come immediately, but His goodness and His love always will.