When my wonderful mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, our family’s fervent prayers for her recovery made me think back on the experience of praying for my own dear mother’s recovery from the same illness fourteen years earlier. When I was twenty-two, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I learned the devastating news while on a Study Abroad at the BYU Jerusalem Center. When I received that call, I was standing at a pay phone on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. I was in the land where the Lord had performed so many miracles, and I knew He could heal my mother. I just needed to have enough faith!
I prayed and prayed in faith for her recovery, but I started to wonder about the relationship between faith and the Lord’s will. Before I returned home from Israel, I felt impressed to email my father, Elder Dallin Oaks, the following question:
“How can we have faith that someone will get well, or something will happen, when we know that everything is dependent upon the Lord’s will?”
He responded as follows:
“I believe that the only true faith is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything we have ‘faith’ in is based on faith or trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (and His Father), that they will do what is best for us (another way of saying according to their will in our behalf). Therefore, we cannot really say that we have ‘faith’ that the Lord will do what we ask Him to do in any and all circumstances. There will be times when that is not even right for us. If we place our trust in Him, that is what we should do. And He has taught us that we should pray for those we love, and should pray for those who are sick. We do that, and exercise our faith in the Lord, and that is what we are supposed to do.
“I have seen people punish themselves greatly because they prayed in faith for the recovery of a person who dies, and then considered that they had ‘let them die’ because their own faith was insufficient to bring about the desired result. My mother felt that feeling of guilt for many years after the death of my father, until she came to see that she was not at fault in his death. It was the will of the Lord, and she had done all she could.”
My father’s explanation enabled me to put my faith and trust in the Lord as I dealt with my mother’s illness and eventual death nearly one year later. I had prayed for her recovery, but I knew that it was the Lord’s will that she return to Him, and I trusted in Him. Through the entire process my faith and testimony were strengthened.
Since my mother-in-law was also called home, I have been so grateful that my husband and I were able to teach our own children to have faith in the Lord and to trust in His will as we struggled through this difficult time. I know that the Lord loves us, and I am so very grateful for the plan of salvation! I know we will all be reunited again. I thank Heavenly Father for making it possible for families to be together forever, and for giving us the knowledge of this eternal truth.
Lead image from lds.org of President Oaks and his daughter Jenny when she was a little girl
One of the greatest reassurances we receive when we embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ is to know that whatever happens to us in this life, we are in His hands. He knows us, each one of us, by name. He is aware of the circumstances of our lives. He stands ready to help us do things we thought we couldn't do.
In this uplifting collection,twenty-two Latter-day Saint Women share stories and insights illuminating what it means to place ourselves in the Lord's hands. As we learn to trust Him and to commune with Him in prayers, we receive guidance for our own discipleship and inspiration about how to serve. The fruits of love and peace will follow.
Sprinkled with inspirational photography, each of these brief, heart-touching messages is a moving reminder that we are not alone. We are continually in His hands.