Sunday, October 01, 2006

“Great Peace Shall They Have . . . Nothing Shall Offend Them”

Psalms 119:165

I just finished listening to the Sunday morning session of Conference – President Hinckley’s talk. As he spoke, I was reminded of a question I’ve heard recently, as to whether or not President Hinckley is really a prophet of God if he can’t give more specific direction to those with specific challenges?
And if he really is a prophet, what's the point, if he can't give all the answers?

Before I go any further, let me explain why I’m writing this post. The questions were asked by someone for whom I have the greatest respect. So I want to point out that I’m not writing this in criticism of him for questioning. But rather, I know from my own experience that often, when I’ve learned something that I’ve needed to know – when I finally ‘got it’ – I’ve said, ‘why didn’t someone tell me?’ And then I remembered; someone did tell me, but I wasn’t ready to hear it then. So I know that sometimes you just have to be ready to hear. Everyone has to work in their own time and move at their own pace. I firmly believe that how long it takes isn’t as important as the direction we’re going in. And I respect this person for his efforts to go in the right direction, so I repeat, this isn’t meant in criticism, but rather to offer some ideas that might at some point be helpful. And if not that, then maybe I’m just fulfilling my own need to empty my head by expressing my thoughts!

I know, also, that it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, and that the person who can point out the forest is able to do so, not because he’s smarter, but because he happens to be standing outside of the forest, and therefore has a better opportunity to see it in perspective. But then, being on the outside, he’s less familiar with what the particular trees in that forest look like, so he might not really be in a position to be pointing things out to the person that is in there. So while the temptation is to say, ‘here, look at this – can’t you see?’ it seemed better to just put my thoughts on my blog, and let whomever wants to, read it, and take it however it fits for them – if at all.

Now that I’ve explained that, back to my thoughts: I noticed how the prophet started out by talking about people’s speculations about his age and health, the implication being that they might be wondering if he’s going to die anytime soon and someone else be called to his position. He made it clear that he has no idea what the Lord has in mind for him! This implied to me that even though he’s a Prophet of the Lord, apparently, that doesn’t mean that he is told everything.

It kind of reminded me of a friend who used to tell me that the Lord always blessed her financially, whenever she needed it. She said there were several times when she didn’t know where the money she needed was going to come from, but at the last minute, the Lord always provided what she needed. Then she said, grinning with feigned disappointment, that although it was always enough, there was never anything extra!

I thought of that comment in connection with the Prophet’s words. Apparently, the Lord gives him what is needed, but doesn't neccesarily tell him everything. And as to specific direction for specific problems, perhaps the Lord would rather handle that on an individual basis, conserving the Prophet’s time for what he needs to do to guide the church. At least, that’s the picture I was getting.

Isn’t that the way the Lord has always worked? The scriptures give lots of direction which we can apply to our own lives, but it’s our job to take that information and use our mental capacities to figure out how to apply it to our own lives, and then take it to the Lord for confirmation. And aren’t the words of the Prophet equal to scripture?

I think what really bothered me the most though, was that the questions regarding the Prophet were clouded in anger, and I wondered where it was coming from.

Maybe this person's real question should have been what – or who – am I really angry at?

From where I’m standing, I think he has some legitimate reasons to be angry – but I can’t help but wonder if he’s not been misdirecting that anger?

And I’m wondering if it’s ever possible to resolve misdirected anger.