(September 25, 2014)
I have recently been having a discussion online about miracles, and when and how it is appropriate to share those experiences. There are one group of people who say that any time you share a miracle (even a small one, the example given of being led to find your keys when you pray), you are reminding every person with an unanswered prayer that the Lord helped you find your keys but didn’t help their love one fight cancer, for instance.
I took a different approach. I brought up the fact that we should share these miraculous experiences, when appropriate, because they serve as reminders that the Lord has the capacity to bring about His work through miraculous intervention (whether curing cancer or finding keys).
I have been praying for some significant things in my life recently – blessings for myself and blessings for others that I love and care about. So far, these prayers have remained unanswered. I hope that the day comes when He grants me the miracles I am praying for – I know that all of the sorrows that I face could be fixed with a word from Him – but if He does not I trust that it is for my benefit and the benefit of those I love. I trust that no ounce of sorrow will be wasted, and no tear will fall in vain. He is perfectly loving, and He could fix everything – that He chooses not to is a testament to His confidence in me and in those I love to rise above the challenges we face and to become what He wants us to become.
I know this because of the miracles that I have seen in my life – both the dramatic miracles, that remind me that the Lord’s word can do all things, and the small miracles, that remind me that He loves me and others perfectly and is ever-present and wants only the best for me. In light of this, and despite my pain and suffering, I feel blessed to hear of the miraculous experiences of others even when my prayers are as-yet unanswered.
I see in this reading a similar approach from Alma and Amulek. They arrive back to a people living in exile. They greet them with the distressing news of their wives and their children being slaughtered and suffering death by fire (I cannot imagine the thought of one of my children suffering such a painful death!). Then they told the people that they had been delivered from prison by the miraculous power of God.
That used to bother me somewhat, because I would have struggled to understand why these men were saved and the Lord did not spare those who I loved. But now I have learned what the message was to communicate – the Lord saved Alma and Amulek, and could have saved everyone. That He did not was a testament to His perfect love, and He brought them unto Himself. Alma and Amulek being miraculously saved meant that their wives and children reached their eternal reward, and that miracle was a comfort rather than a source of jealous desire for similar salvation.