Jeffrey R. Holland said:
There are times when the only way to get from A to C is by way of B.
And B can sometimes give you a good kick in the teeth.
There have been times in my life — very important, consequential, serious times — when prayerful, thoughtful decisions by me and by members of my family have seemed to turn disastrous. It can seems logical — and accurate — to conclude that God simply isn't in the details and doesn't much care about the means so much as the ends in our lives.
I openly admit that I've become rather deistic in my leanings over my 49 years on earth. By that I mean that I really do think that, to some extent, God has created the universe, given us the gospel for maximum advantage, and then let's us “work out our salvation” without much intervention. I don't think he does so out of disinterest, but out of a respect for agency. It's the only way I can rationalize the disparity in people's circumstance, the unfairness and evil in the world (and the innocents harmed by them), and the times I poured out my soul to God and did everything in my power to do what he wanted, only to have my head slammed to the pavement.
But I do believe that there is “supernatural revelation” and that he does exert his influence, particularly by giving us strength and comfort to survive those head banging moments we all come up against.
When one of my own children had a life changing blow to her dreams and plans, she saw the video embedded below and shared it with me. It depicted perfectly how her life had been shaped. She prayerfully made an important decision and proceeded with joy and excitement. But when the opportunity turned into a dead end, ultimately it was the answer to her prayer. She turned back with assurance that the alternate choice was correct. She could move forward without spending her life wondering if she had made the correct choice, because she was allowed to make both and see them to the end.
We can't see all the lies ahead. But we can trust that whether God specifically directs our actions, nudges us toward future clarity, or allows us to choose without intervention and deal with the consequences — and I believe he does all three, depending on the circumstances — that our most troubling and chaotic “wrong roads” can be our best teachers, our greatest reassurance, and even our guiding light if we let the Lord be part of the path correction.
Watch this video clip together.
Here are some example questions to ask about making choices and following the spirit:
- Does God always tell us what to do when we ask him?
- Does keeping the commandments mean we'll always know the right thing to do?
- If we try to follow inspiration and things go wrong, does that mean we weren't spiritually in tune?
- Why do bad things happen?
- Consequences of our own agency
- Consequences of others' agency
- God is teaching us
- Natural law and ramifications of living in the physical world
- How do we know if our choices are acceptable to the Lord?
Jeffrey R. Holland said:
God loves us. He is good, He is our Father, and He expects us to pray and trust and be believing and not give up and not panic and not retreat when something doesn't seem to be going just right.
How would you teach your children about making choices? Please share your ideas in the comments below.