The answer came as a little rectangle of paper, a few lines printed across it, nothing else. As answers to prayers went, I was decidedly underwhelmed.
I sighed, and scrunched my eyes a little tighter to squeeze whatever other clue out I could get.
A little piece of paper, some empty lines… and a smoothed lead pencil. Ah… recognition. In response, a blink type effect, then two names are there, carefully pressed into the paper. My ex-husband’s name, and his wife’s.
I am not a god of scarcity.
Huh. I ended my prayer and rolled into bed mulling the answer over like it was a loose tooth.
I’ve been wrecking myself against some significant decisions lately. I’ve had the stresses of starting a new job, beginning the second year of my degree, my youngest has started high school, and my oldest is in his final year. I’ve come home some nights late in the evening, to the assorted messes and heavy slumbering heat two teenagers can make, and wondered just what on earth I was trying to do with my life.
I’ve been juggling my responsibilities like a good grownup should; evaluating the cascading consequences of decision A versus decision B, which leads to Likelihoods K through 113b(i). I have spreadsheets, several timetables, a son planning on leaving for his mission in 2016, and a growing understanding that I can’t do it all (whatever “it” is in this moment), but even the stuff I can do (should do, would do, may do, would like to do) will leave me spread hugely thinner than the dust on my bookshelf (note to self: dust!).
So I’ve been wondering, discussing, studying, bartering, pleading, asking and badgering.
I don’t know what to do. To study fulltime, or go part-time. Which work shifts would work better? Are the boys doing their jobs, remembering to pull in the laundry, to check the mail before it rains? Do they wish I was there more, or are they okay? Father, tell me what I should do to cover the bases, somehow. To have enough time and energy and patience – DEAR GOD PATIENCE I NEED PATIENCE – (and maybe some more sleep, please?) – to do what is needed. Just… just make my best effort enough. Somehow. Use compounds and the square it to the power of six thousand and forty ten or something… please?
For weeks, the same intent shoved into His ears, the same worry gnawing at my breastbone. I didn’t want a sparkling, gushing overabundance of hours or dancing mops to fall on my head, just a little mandated from heaven multitasking capability to make my efforts spread far enough to get me across the “jobs completed” finish line… You know, like the skill of making the last scraping of butter cover the entire piece of toast. Thin, almost invisible, but enough.
So getting an answer, after weeks of twisting the problems into “possible solution” yoga positions, to get the visual response of a prayer roll piece of paper with those specific two names on it was surprising. A little irritating. What does it mean?
I am not a god of scarcity.
I thought back to when my marriage ended. About the devastation that ignited to fury, the charcoaled remains of my trust in and respect for my ex-husband. How I found solace first in blessings, the scriptures, my best friend, and the same again as his treachery was revealed, deepened, and continued through the weeks, months and years.
My scripture searches shifted from the Lord’s anger for liars, to being able to forgive.
Nope, it’s not going to happen, I apologetically told the Lord. No way. I mean, I want to forgive him, forgive her, but… I really don’t think I’m capable of it. It’s too much to choke down, to look over – have you SEEN the size of the mountain range this has caused in my life? Look! LOOK!
Ugh…. Lord, help thou mine unbelief. My anger. Help me to forgive them in some way for being so…. So….
I don’t know if I can do it, but I want to try. I want to drop the rock, instead of throwing it at stupid jerks who – UGH!!!… ok. I’ll try…
I was able to forgive him, forgive them both, for one trillionth of a second, for being stupid. On the mountain range of changes, in a cranky, smoking, carnage tossed valley, a skerrick of moss hid under a dropped rock. Time passed, I forgave them for being stupid a little bit longer, and longer again, until that valley was dense with ferns, gum trees, elkhorns and tranquillity. (Admittedly with occasional meteors streaking by overhead, scorching the calm).
Little by little, God took my struggle to forgive, and spread it far beyond my initial capabilities and forecasts. One day I went to the temple, and as my breathing hissed slowly through my teeth, wrote my ex-husband’s and his wife’s name down on the little rectangle of paper for the prayer roll. My handwriting puckered the paper, my effort felt in my throat and cramping fingers. The next time was less painful. Every time since then has been easier again. Every time I go to the temple, I write their names down, and have done so for several years now.
Don’t get the wrong idea, this is not a perfectly righteous act. I never write my sons names on that piece of paper, or anyone else I’m praying for. But that piece of paper, in its many forms over the years in temples across the world, is answer to prayer. Literally, figuratively, undoubtedly.
I stared at the ceiling fan, now thoroughly whelmed by the answer I’d been given. God took the tiny scrap of effort and desire I had, and used no math or magic to make it magnificent. He used what I gave, what I wanted, my heart’s intent and hope, and made it far more than enough. He will do the same again, now, in ways I’m sure I can’t even imagine. He will make my scarcity so incredibly, awesomely, more than enough.
He is not a god of scarcity.
I connected the dots.
He is the god of all.
Have you had prayers answered in unexpected ways, that you’ve had to mull over or wrestle with to understand? How does scarcity and abundance relate to your daily thinking, and to your spiritual experiences?