Now I'm really confused

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SilentDawning
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Now I'm really confused

Post by SilentDawning » 14 Aug 2020, 11:31

OK, as you may have gathered, I've been praying a lot lately.

I have basically been happy to accept the Deist view of God, although I do pray for others and for things needed just in case. But I haven't really been a proponent of regular prayer, or its efficacy since my faith transition. I was comfortable being "alone" in the world with God apparently watching but not really dealing me any interventionist cards.

However, I decided to try an experiment. There is an old friend who helped me when I was a Young Adult. I found out he had a promotion after about 15 years of not engaging with each other (we just lost touch). I called his secretary at work to patch me through, but she said he was out of the country and would call me back. He never did. I followed up with a handwritten letter mailed to his work. He never replied.

For some reason this bothered me to the point I have been making it a point of daily prayer that we will get in contact with other. That he will at least acknowledge me in some way. I set a deadline for August 31st at which point I told God I would assume the answer was no if there was no answer from him.

Well, Lo and Behold, after a couple months of prayer, and 2 weeks before the deadline, I went into LinkedIn to get my profile picture. At the top of the chat feed was a message from him indicating a book he had just written. This was general and to all of his contacts. As you know, these feeds are dynamic. The items that rise to the top are the ones with activity in them (replies likes) so it was a matter of good timing that I saw his post. I responded and asked a question. He wrote me back and essentially, fulfilled the prayer request I've been making to God. I had to search for his name to find the discussion again, but it was there.

Coincidence, or answer to prayer? What are the odds a post from him would be at the top of the feed the only time I go into LinkedIN within the last 6 months? I rarely ever go into LinkedIn now that I'm employed, this was just a fluke. To me this is a big deal because I've been praying for this regularly.

It jars my comfortable world in which God doesn't really acknowledge me...with evidence that maybe he DOES answer prayers.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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DarkJedi
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Re: Now I'm really confused

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Aug 2020, 12:27

It could be either - it's up to you to decide what you believe. It seems we have similar LinkedIn habits, but it wasn't my experience, it was yours. If you believe it was a tender mercy it was a tender mercy. If you believe it was coincidence it was coincidence.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Now I'm really confused

Post by Roy » 14 Aug 2020, 12:43

DarkJedi wrote:
14 Aug 2020, 12:27
It could be either - it's up to you to decide what you believe. It seems we have similar LinkedIn habits, but it wasn't my experience, it was yours. If you believe it was a tender mercy it was a tender mercy. If you believe it was coincidence it was coincidence.
there is enough evidence for or against as to give you some flexibility in deciding what this will mean to you. I do not mean that you have complete freedom to choose, I believe that your personality and past experiences are heavy influencers. However, you do have some ability to choose and pursue the narrative that makes the most sense to you and adds value to your experiences.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Old-Timer
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Re: Now I'm really confused

Post by Old-Timer » 14 Aug 2020, 16:56

I have stopped trying to understand some things, as much as general understanding is extremely important to me.

I have started accepting whatever is - and attributing the unknowable but desired to God. I don't do so out of what I would call knowledge or certainty; I do so purely out of hope. It is what I want, so I choose to hope it is so.

Letting go of needing to know the unknowable has been wonderful for me.

Your mileage may vary, since you aren't me.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SilentDawning
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Re: Now I'm really confused

Post by SilentDawning » 14 Aug 2020, 21:07

My preliminary attitude is that I don't really want this to be an answer to prayer. I don't like being expected to rely on a means of achievement that is so unpredictable and subject to such mysterious rules as prayer.

On the other hand, there is evidence that God WANTS us to acknowledge his hand in all things. This implies that he wants us to give Him credit for apparent answers to prayers even when he didn't intervene.
21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
My attitude toward prayer is still in flux though. It is nice to know that occasionally prayer works for achieving goals that you can't seem to achieve under your own steam. But is it worth the normal sense of futility that accompanies prayer due to most prayers being unanswered? Is what you gain in hope lost on disappointment when you have to accept the thing for which you are praying isn't going to happen?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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nibbler
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Re: Now I'm really confused

Post by nibbler » 15 Aug 2020, 05:53

SilentDawning wrote:
14 Aug 2020, 21:07
On the other hand, there is evidence that God WANTS us to acknowledge his hand in all things. This implies that he wants us to give Him credit for apparent answers to prayers even when he didn't intervene.
21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
God didn't write that scripture, a person describing their belief in god wrote that scripture.

Scriptures tell us more about the people that wrote them than they tell us about god. Our interpretations of scripture tells us more about ourselves that they tells us about god.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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LookingHard
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Re: Now I'm really confused

Post by LookingHard » 15 Aug 2020, 06:36

DarkJedi wrote:
14 Aug 2020, 12:27
It could be either - it's up to you to decide what you believe. It seems we have similar LinkedIn habits, but it wasn't my experience, it was yours. If you believe it was a tender mercy it was a tender mercy. If you believe it was coincidence it was coincidence.
Exactly what I was going to respond with. The lack of some significant and long-term prayers was the item that put significant structural cracks in my shelf. Once I then ran into the messy history and the cover up Imy shelf was toast and I was slip-sliding down the rabbit hole and dark night of the soul. Once again I literally cried out in prayer for hours each day for nearly weeks with what seemed absolute silence.

I actually have envy for those that feel their prayers are answered.

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