Have you ever felt that the proverbial “windows of heaven” are too often fastened tightly shut for you? You would not be alone, as most of us have. Assuming that they are not shut because of serious misdeeds, what do we do when we need the revelation that flows through those windows but cannot get it? There is no easy answer. Even after much prayer, fasting, studying the scriptures, or conversations with priesthood leaders, answers can still be hard to find. Nevertheless, in our own struggle we can gain much understanding and appreciation for others who also search for answers from above.
One such man was Jacob of old, whose treasured son Joseph was cruelly ripped from his life after being killed by wild beasts. Or so he thought. It would be twenty years of heart-wrenching grief before he would learn the truth (see Genesis 37:1–36).
This is a deeply moving story, as Jacob was not only a kind, loving father but was also a prophet of God. It begs the question: Why did God not simply tell Jacob that all was well instead of letting him suffer as he did? It is a question that many of us ask ourselves as we struggle to navigate through each day while troubling concerns are ever-present in our minds. For Jacob, that glorious day of comprehension came when the now powerful Joseph revealed to his family who he was, assuring them that God Himself had sent him to Egypt that he might save his brethren. In a moment, all of the dots connected for Jacob, and understanding flooded his mind! His heart must have been near to bursting as he realized that his God had ever been with him.
We can learn a great deal from Jacob about how to deal with those things in our own lives that we don’t understand. While Jacob grieved for all of those years, he still had responsibilities that demanded his attention every day, just as we do. That is one of the keys to it all—stay busy and teach ourselves how to put troubling things on the back burner for another day. Most importantly though, through his living prophet Wilford Woodruff, the Savior taught the principle of persevering, even thriving, during those times. Said Wilford, “All that we have to do is to be faithful, to keep His commandments, to be humble, to seek Him in mighty prayer, and all will be well with us.”1
That is often not the answer we hope for when we are looking for immediacy, but it has ever been the Lord’s way. We all want our dots to be connected according to our timing, forgetting that the Lord’s timing will ever be superior to ours. Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught, “There are times when we have to step into the darkness in faith, confident that God will place solid ground beneath our feet once we do.”2
This is what sustained Jacob. It also sustained his son Joseph. The trick is being patient and faithful until that solid ground comes; for come it will, as God cannot lie.
Craig Lindquist is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, happily married to Dianna for the past 46 years. By trade he is a cabinetmaker, actor, and writer. He lives in Henderson, Nevada, except when he travels for film or for working on the construction of temples.
The Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation’s mission is to digitally preserve and publish Wilford Woodruff’s eyewitness account of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and make his records universally accessible in order to inspire all people, especially the rising generation, to study and to increase their faith in Jesus Christ. For more information, please explore wilfordwoodruffpapers.org.