BROOKE SNOW THE PODCAST – Episode 67
I want to start off by sharing a story that Brooke shared from a book by Wendy Nelson, The Heavens Are Open:
When we pray “Thy will be done”, we let the Lord know we are ready to receive whatever He is ready to give to us. Or perhaps whatever He knows we are finally ready to receive. That reminds me of a prayer offered by a dear friend. One day my future-husband asked me to find a home for us. Only a few people knew we were engaged, so he couldn’t go looking for a home – we weren’t ready for the rumors. Our friend went house hunting with me, and we found a home I liked immediately. I could see all kind of possibilities. I asked our friend if she would quickly offer a prayer that we could own this home. She did. But she changed the words. She prayed, “Please help Elder Nelson and Wendy to acquire this home, or something better.” As I drove to my home, I kept remembering the words, “Or something better”. I phoned our friend and said, “Do you always pray that way? I never knew you could add that little tagline, OR SOMETHING BETTER.” She laughed, never really answering my questions. Later that evening, those unusual words were still lingering in my mind. OR SOMETHING BETTER. I called our friend, “Do you know who else prayed for something better? The prophet Joseph Smith.” We recalled together the story of Joseph Smith and Emma sitting down to a meager meal of corn bread. The prophet prayed, “Lord we thank Thee for this johnny cake, and ask Thee to bring us something better.” Moments later there was a knock on the door. It was a man bringing some flour and a ham to the Smiths…
The next time I went house hunting after the SOMETHING BETTER prayer by our friend, the Lord led me to a home that was far more suited to the needs of my husband and me. It was indeed something better.
This is a game changer! “Or something better”.
Have you ever prayed for something that you didn’t get, and assumed that the Lord wanted to give you something less? One specific prayer comes to mind, as I’m sitting here at my computer this morning.
Maybe 8 years ago, Bryant and I took the children on a vacation to Washington. We were all exhausted. It had been a difficult couple months with our volunteer work in the Deaf Branch in NYC. And at nights I would cry with overwhelm and because I was hurting. One night, it seemed too hard for me to take. I remember Bry was still lying asleep on the air mattress in the room we were sharing with the children on vacation. And I didn’t want to wake him, so I got up and literally paced the floors of that room. And I cried. And I prayed. And my desperate prayer sounded something like this: Please take me home. Just for the night. I want to be in your arms, and I want to know that I am okay, and that You are okay with me. Oh, please please Father, take me home to your arms for the night. And I prayed that prayer so intensely, and with so much faith, that I was absolutely sure that my request would be granted – more sure than I had been of any prayer I’d ever prayed. And when I was exhausted from the pacing and the crying and the praying, I sat down on the edge of the blowup mattress. Bryant sat up quickly. “Are you okay?” He was still half-asleep, so I just said, “Yes. I’m fine. Go back to sleep.” And then it happened. My husband, in his delirious state, wrapped his heavy arm around me, and pulled me close to me. And there was no difference in that moment between his loving and accepting arms around me, and the Lord’s loving and accepting arms around me. And, though I did not return “home” to the Lord, I had received the physical comfort of the Lord’s arms around me that night. And, not only that, but I grew a depth of love for my husband that I hadn’t had the experience to feel before.
And, though I hadn’t prayed that tagline, I had truly been given SOMETHING BETTER.
“Praying this tagline, OR SOMETHING BETTER, is an immediate act of faith, which is the opposite of fear. It’s an immediate act of hope, which is the opposite of doubt…
Praying this tagline, OR SOMETHING BETTER, reflects God’s true nature.”
And then this:
“God is not a God of scarcity.”
Like the example used by Elder Uchtdorf, He is pouring out – dumping out – blessings on our heads, like rain from the heavens. But sometimes we put our umbrellas out. We resist the blessings the Lord is willing to give us.
“Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict, paternalistic requirements He has set up… In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us.”Dieter F Uchtdorf
This chapter of my life has really torn at me. When I was at my first appointment with my new doctor, the one who is helping me with the mono, he said, “You must have a lot of stress in your life!” I said something like, “Well. I guess. My son died. Then I moved my family from England to New York City. Then from New York City to Utah. And then my parents moved to Germany and got divorced. It kind of feels like a lot of stress.”
And, do you know what, almost anyone could say that. Everyone has a story. I read this quote last night by Sigmund Freud:
“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”Sigmund Freud
And I have had it on my mind ever since. “The years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful!”
Last night, when I was texting Amelia some of my thoughts about this podcast, SOMETHING BETTER, she made a very beautiful observation: “I just watched a movie the Church released this week, ‘Temples Through Time’. And as it showed the Provo City Center Temple, the SOMETHING BETTER concept stood out to me. I remember how devastated I was when the Provo Tabernacle caught on fire. But the Lord turned it into something better, a temple! How grateful I am for that SOMETHING BETTER!”
And I wondered about us, individually. Especially during difficult chapters of our lives. Is it possible that God sees us as ready for SOMETHING BETTER? Could he be tearing down our tabernacles, which have served us well up until now, and making temples out of us?
And this will likely take time – maybe a lot of time, right?
“‘There seems to be little evidence that the Creator of the universe was ever in a hurry. Everywhere, on this bounteous and beautiful earth … there is evidence of patient purpose and planning and working and waiting.’
When young Joseph Smith found himself in the fight of his life, ‘seized upon’ by a powerful enemy who wanted to choke his prayer with despair and destroy him, when it took ‘all [of Joseph’s] powers [simply] to call upon God to deliver’ him, ‘at [that] moment of great alarm,’ how did deliverance come? In a ‘pillar of light … which descended gradually‘…
‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ … I suppose that can be read as two separate commands, but I think it works especially well as a statement of cause and effect. If we will be still, put God first, call on Him first, and wait on Him always, then we will come to discern His still, small voice reminding us how well He knows us and how much He loves us, and He will teach us…”https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2010/06/dont-be-in-a-hurry?lang=eng
And He will build us, I’ll add. I want to remember this, this week:
“God is not a God of scarcity!”