The other day, I was having a conversation with my youngest son. It was one of those “teaching” moments that every parent is keeping an eye out for and yet, I ended up feeling like I was the one being taught. Isn’t it like that sometimes? All wise and knowing, we settle in to share the wisdom of our years, and then a child with such perfect childlike faith, teaches us with more clarity than we could ever see with our years of wisdom.
So, we were talking, and I was explaining the different ways that Heavenly Father could choose to answer our prayers. I wanted to be sure he understood as we had fasted as a family last Sunday for a specific need and then the very next day, things didn’t quite turn out how we had hoped. I worried that this test of faith would be challenging for a young mind to comprehend. So, we talked about how sometimes we get the answer just the way we hoped for and sometimes the answers to our prayers come in a different way than we had thought of, yet still with the same or better result. And then, we talked about the times when Heavenly Father answers our prayers, yet it feels like the worst thing ever happened instead. I was explaining how sometimes Heavenly Father allows us to go through trials because we need to learn something from them and that sometimes it is the only way He can answer our prayers for our best interests. I was preparing to defend this position to my son, when out he pops with, “Hey! It’s like a FREE TRIAL! You know, like when you want to try a new game online and they let you try it for free first before you spend your money and buy the real thing?” It was so spontaneous a response that I burst out laughing! Of course, I told him he was exactly right!
I spent some time pondering on the concept of a free trial. What an amazing way to look at life! So many times we experience trials and afflictions, and rather than look at the blessings, we are more prone to first complain and notice all the ways that life is unfair. What better way to see it than to realize that life is full of “free trials”, opportunities for us to grow, learn, prepare, and experience, so that we can gain whatever skills, knowledge, character, and integrity we need to gain the “real blessings” of life. It’s like we get a lifetime of free trials and the only cost to get the real blessings is to learn and grow from the trials.
My dad told me once that there was this plane of living where you actually can look forward to the challenge of the trials. He said that it is actually possible to get to that place, yet challenging to always stay there. He said that there is an excitement in wondering just what great thing Heavenly Father is going to do with your life now! I have to admit, at the time I was perplexed yet quite curious. There was a part of me that longed to get to that place. I have experienced glimpses of it in my life. It is an amazing thing to experience giving everything completely over to Heavenly Father’s capable hands. I am such a control freak that letting go and surrendering the “controls” of my life to my Father in Heaven is a very scary thing. Yet, in my `wisdom’ of years, I am coming to understand that true joy and happiness only comes when I give it over to Him and trust in His divine direction and guidance.
That brings me back to my son. I think about how he trusts me and his dad and surrenders much control of his life to our direction and guidance. He is one of the happiest people I know! He loves everyone and extends an open hand of friendship to anyone who wants to play and be happy with him. He rarely complains when I tell him no, and he rarely questions my decisions. And, his carefree attitude when faced with a challenge as evidenced with this latest family trial, exhibits an optimism that will serve him well in life. So, as I sit and chat with him intending to impart my wisdom, I find myself gaining a new clarity on the Savior’s admonition to `become as a little child’. So, with childlike faith, I will trust in Heavenly Father to guide our little family and help us find the next adventure in this great life of “free trials!”