Life isn’t meant to be easy. We know that. Many of us have heard it since we were children. We need to stretch and grow, learning to rely on our Savior Jesus Christ and to become like Him. This often happens through trials and hardships—sometimes by the Lord’s design and sometimes because we are mortals living in a mortal world.
Knowing about this has led to a problem for me, and I believe there are many other people with the same problem. I wear my hardships like a badge of honor. I assume that they are meant to be thorns in my side (2 Corinthians 12:7). When life is hard, I tell myself that it’s the Lord’s will—without asking Him if it really is. I ask Him to help me through it, but I forget to ask Him to take it away.
When my anxiety and depression became severe nine years ago, I prayed for deliverance. Instead, the Lord took me on a long journey filled with struggles and pain. Along the way, I learned more about Him and about myself. Eventually, the burden was partially lifted, though never taken away completely. It is a mortal weakness that I will live with while the Lord proves His strength through me.
This is why, when the anxiety flared up again after the birth of my children, I didn’t ask for deliverance. I’ve been suffering through it, asking for help, but never actually getting anywhere.
God is a God of miracles. He can do things we would never imagine possible. But He respects our right to choose and most of the time won’t act until we ask. We are told that if God isn’t performing miracles, it’s because we don’t believe (Mormon 9:20). Perhaps we don’t believe that He can, or perhaps we don’t believe that He will. Are we so focused on growing through our trials that we don’t ask for deliverance?
Recently I was thinking about the story in the Bible of Lazarus (John 11). When he fell ill, his sisters sent to Jesus to come and heal their brother. The sisters had the faith that Jesus could take away Lazarus’s illness. But Jesus delayed His coming. Lazarus died. When Jesus arrived, Martha told Him that in spite of her disappointment at her brother’s death, she still had faith. I realized that Jesus was teaching Martha an important lesson. She thought that her faith was strong enough to heal her brother from his illness, but He knew that her faith was strong enough to raise her brother from the dead.
Is it possible that my faith is stronger than I realize? If I ask the Lord in faith, can He do greater things than I’m expecting? I decided that I need to ask the Lord to deliver me and my family from our hardships. If it’s not His will, He will tell me so—and He will help us to move forward. But if I don’t ask, I won’t know. If it is His will, I’m opening the door to allow Him to work great miracles in my life. My hardships don’t need to be a badge of honor—the badge will be my faith and the power that God shows in my life. He is still a God of miracles, if we will only ask.