"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
April 17, 2013
Bread or a Stone?
by Kathryn Grant

Once in the midst of a long and draining personal challenge, I felt discouraged that the Lord didn’t seem to be answering my prayers for relief. I recalled His words in the scriptures:

What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7: 9-11.)

If that promise were true, why were the desired blessings eluding me? I felt that I was wandering in a dreary, barren desert, desperate for nourishment. But instead of the bread I’d prayed for, I was holding a stone.

Then, unbidden, a picture formed in my mind. I saw that I was indeed in a desert, but as I looked around I saw gentle dunes of white sand that almost seemed to be glowing. The twilight sky was a beautiful, vibrant blue. The desert was not dreary, but lovely. And as I looked down at my hand it was a stone I saw, but not an ordinary one — it was a diamond.

Through this tender mercy, the Lord seemed to be saying to me, “Yes, there may be times when, in My wisdom, I don’t give you the bread you ask for. But if you will trust Me, you will find that what I have given you is of far greater worth, and in My time you will have all that you need.”

The Lord also seemed to be teaching me the importance of truly seeing trials for what they are — in other words, seeing them through His eyes. It wasn’t a matter of pretending the problems didn’t exist or that a positive attitude would solve everything. Instead, it was a matter of trusting His higher perspective (Isaiah 55:8) and His promise that all things — all things — work together for our good if we are faithful (Romans 8:28).

This particular challenge wasn’t resolved as I had prayed it would be. But the mind-picture I was given turned out to be true: the path I’ve walked has had its own beauty and abundant blessings.

So sometimes employment is lost, a loved one isn’t healed, trust is betrayed or our best efforts don’t bear the hoped-for fruit. But as the Christian group Kutless affirms in their song “Even if,” in all these experiences we can trust the Lord for who He is — a God who loves us perfectly, who sees more and sees more clearly than we do, and who amazingly makes all things work together for our good. We can hold fast to this truth even if the circumstances seem hopeless, even if prayers aren’t answered as we had wished.

Are you struggling with prayers that seem to be unanswered or circumstances that seem damaged beyond repair? Just for a day, try to focus on the Lord instead of the problem. See the situation through His eyes. Look for the blessings you can already see, and try to find those you haven’t yet seen. How does that change the experience of the challenge for you?


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About Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant is a user assistance professional with a passion for usability and process improvement. She also loves family history and enjoys the challenge and reward of building her family tree.

As a child, she lived outside the United States for four years because of her father's job. This experience fueled her natural love of words and language, and also taught her to appreciate other cultures.

Kathryn values gratitude, teaching, learning, differences, and unity. She loves looking at star-filled skies, reading mind-stretching books, listening to contemporary Christian music, attending the temple, and eating fresh raspberries.

Kathryn teaches Sunday family history classes at the BYU Family History Library, and presents frequently at family history events. For more information, visit her Family History Learning Resources page

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