When my mom died, I felt this force surround me like angels carrying me through the difficult days ahead.
I remember the moment they left. I dropped like a rock into dark waters. I felt absolutely no light, no support, nothing. I prayed for strength. I felt nothing. I read my scriptures, fasted, went to the temple but remained empty. Days passed, then weeks, then months. I started to question everything I knew. Where was God? Why wasn’t He listening to me? Why couldn’t I feel His spirit?
What if everything I had been taught wasn’t true? What if the truths I’d learned about life after death and eternal families was false? Would I see my mom again? Where was she? Worry, fear, depression, anxiety became my constant companions.
Then one day I had a thought. I knew that that I had felt the Spirit before even if I could not feel it now. I knew that I wanted everything I’d been taught and believed to be true. I decided that I was going to go forward, believing with all my heart, clinging to the truths I’d been taught. I decided to exercise faith. Immediately I felt the spirit again.
For a long time I wondered why I hadn’t been able to feel God. When we take the sacrament we are promised that if we keep the commandments and are willing to take upon us His name, that we will have His spirit to be with us. Why had I not felt it for so long?
And then one day, I received insight. My son was about 6 and was riding his bike around the block. I was inside washing dishes and suddenly I knew that he needed me. I ran outside and found him a short distance from our house on the ground scraped and bruised. His pants caught in the chain. He couldn’t right the bike and he didn’t know how he could get home without taking off his pants, so he prayed.
"Did you wait long for me to come?" I asked.
"Yes," he answered, "but I knew you would come."
When my son was learned to ride his bike, I was constantly there. I held onto his seat and guided him and whispered encouraging things in his ear. As he got better, I would remove my hand for a few moments. Soon, I let go all together but continued to run next to him. Eventually, when he could ride on his own, I still knew where he was.
I couldn’t help but think, I was like my son. Sometimes the Lord is constantly with me. I feel His presence and encouragement. But if I am going to learn to be like Him, He has to let me ride alone or go around the block. If He isn’t running beside me, do I have the faith to keep pedaling? If I fall, do I have faith that He knows where I am and that He will come?
My friend shared a similar story in testimony meeting today. When she couldn't feel God's love, she prayed for a hug, something concrete that she could feel. Eventually, she visualized Christ hugging her. God comes to us in ways that are personal and powerful. Just like she needed a hug, I needed to know why I couldn't feel Him for so long, so He gave me the "bike parable." Michael McClean experienced his own spiritual crisis and after a long wait received answers tailored just for him. You can read his inspirational story here.
If you can't feel God, have faith that He knows where you are and that He will come. Until then, keep pedaling.
|Me and that guy biking down a volcano in Hawaii--okay, technically we're not biking, but we're about to and we did and we made it even though it was raining and a little bit scary because we're old now and think about all the ways we could die.|