This sleeping sitting up isn’t working. It is 5:00 am and I have been awake since 2:30. That means I’ve been thinking for 2 and 1/2 hours. I’ll try to distill my thoughts down.
Yesterday a friend asked me why God lets some things happen. He used the example of a mother of five struggling on life support after a terrible car accident. If she had reached the intersection five seconds earlier or five seconds later, she wouldn’t be near death. But across town at the very same time someone has lost their keys, prays about it and the tender mercies of the Lord lead the person to the keys. Why did God take care of the keys and not the mother?
That does seem like a perplexing problem. But I would be very, very careful about blaming God. How do we know that the Spirit didn’t say to the woman, “Slow down. You’re going too fast”? How do we know that she didn’t think, “But I’m late. I can’t slow down now.” Or maybe before she left the house the spirit said, “Call Sister Smith.” And she didn’t think, “Why should I call Sister Smith?” or “I’ll do it when I get back.” Or maybe she was so preoccupied stressing about what happened that morning with a child or fretting about all the bills that needed to be paid tomorrow that she didn’t even hear or feel the prompting. From what I know about God, it is much more likely the case that God is always prompting, always transmitting the necessary help and guidance, but that it is we who fail to tune in.
None of us like to hear that it is our fault that we have a problem. But how do I know that a few months or years ago the Spirit didn’t prompt me, “Don’t eat that!” or give me some other warning that would have kept this tumor from developing, and I either ignored or didn’t hear the prompting? I firmly believe that God is no respecter of persons. So the logical conclusion for me is that bad things don’t happen because God wills them or allows them. Bad things happen because in our mortal frailness we make mistakes.
But God knew we would not always listen. He knew we would be preoccupied or fretting and therefore make mistakes. So he provided an Atonement that not only overcomes our sins, but compensates us for all we suffer if we will just trust in Him. Now is my time to trust and to learn to listen better.