Sometimes when I'm saying prayers, it feels like I'm pushing against a boulder. I'm asking for some things indefinitely, and while I'm hopeful, I'm not always (definitely) sure that those things will come to pass. I think part of that has to do with my own lack of faith, but I think part of it is just being unsure about whether what I'm asking for corresponds with the will of Heavenly Father. I try to pray at least a couple of times a day, and there tends to be a few things that I'm asking for at any given time.
And that's where the boulder comes in. I'm pushing and heaving, hoping that this massive object will move, feeling like there's no effect, but hoping that my efforts are, in fact, making a difference. Sometimes it'll take weeks, other times months, and still other times even longer - years, even.
Then, all of a sudden, that thing that I had been pushing against has actually been moving. I didn't know it, but my hands became calloused in the process and I'm able to push with greater frequency and force. Where my hands and shoulders may have been thrusting, now there are hand holds and indentations that allow me to get greater leverage. And after much time, effort, bruises and hardening of skin, muscles, and determination, the huge obstacle has actually begun to roll.
I've been thinking a lot about this recently with some prayers being answered after months of constant pleading. Some of these prayers weren't even for my own direct benefit, but I still never get tired of seeing how those prayers get answered and that thing that seemed so far off has actually been attended to by Father.
I thought about this last night as Amy and I were able to attend the temple. Admittedly, I got very little out of the endowment session itself, but once I got into that last room and began to think over some different things, I just felt so grateful to be there.
It reminds me of when Jesus is transfigured before Peter, James, and John, and probably not knowing what else to say, but still feeling the magnitude of the moment, Peter says aloud, "Lord, it is good for us to be here."
I often feel that when I'm in the temple, and I think Amy and I always end up actually saying that to each other once we meet in the celestial room: "It is good for us to be here."
The biggest boulder in my life that finally moved was being single. Even though we're coming up on almost a year of being married now, Amy and I still remark to each other frequently about how we can't believe that we're actually married, and that time is now and we each have finally arrived. I think it's a little different when you get married a little bit later like we did. Some others will get married much later, and some not at all, but I think we're still further along in the spectrum than most LDS couples when it comes to age at nuptials.
It's different when you've had severe heartbreaks and actually consider that maybe marriage is not just around the corner, but you wonder whether it will happen at all in the way and to the person that you hope it will be.One thing that kept me going through all of my years of singleness was something my best friend said to me in Del Taco in Provo after my first real heartbreak: "If you want it that much and it is right, then imagine how much more the Lord wants it for you, who sees all things perfectly, loves you perfectly, and knows all things. It will happen, just trust in him and let him work in your behalf."
It's not far off from what one prophet of old said, "how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him."
During this Christmas season, it's a hard thing for us to imagine how much people looked forward to and yearned for the coming of the Lord. It amazes me to think about the believers in the book of Helaman, and faced not only with ridicule and scorn, but also with the prospect of death and how they must have agonized for the coming of the Lord, for the signs to be shown so that everyone might know that what they believed in and had been living for all of their lives was actually true. Then to imagine what that felt like as those prayers were finally answered.
At this time of year we celebrate all of the figurative boulders that have been and will be moved in our behalf. We celebrate the literal fulfillment of thousands of years of prophecies that have led each of us to this moment in our lives. And what's more, we celebrate the literal moving of that final boulder that would attempt to symbolize the squashing of all of the prayers and faith that sat in waiting in that garden tomb. But move, it did, and with it came, and will come, the evidence of our faith and of God's supernal love for us.
Have a merry Christmas.