The magazine spread project is to write and design a two-page magazine spread for the Ensign or New Era (magazines of the LDS Church). I chose to write for the Ensign and decided to write of an experience I had that taught me about how the Lord answers our prayers and guides our lives through His omniscience.
Story: Lost Then Found
It was in Mandeville, Jamaica, almost sixty miles of winding, climbing difficult road from home for our annual Church Educational System in-service island wide training. Split in different workshops, someone had left the door to my training room open and I could hear the whispers as searchers passed up and down the halls. “Have you seen Sandra’s keys?” “Where did she last have them?” “Could they be locked in the car?”
Two thoughts, distinct and deliberate, came into my mind. You need to pray to find her keys. You need to pray in a private place. Since I was in the middle of delivering a presentation I put the thought to the back of my mind and continued with the business of the day. An hour passed, maybe even two. We broke for lunch and by this time the queries were louder and I could see that Sandra was becoming visibly upset. Gone was her usual poise and grace. Even her wardrobe seemed to be suffering from the frenzy of the day. Her heels were gone and she padded about bare-footed, looking here and there. I attempted to talk to her about the lost keys. I even tried to suggest praying but she gazed past me, questioning everyone that went by to know if they had seen the elusive keys. I doubt she heard, much less heeded my advice. Again the impression: you need to pray to find her keys. You need to pray in a private place.
So I focused my efforts on finding a place to pray. The Mandeville meetinghouse was a perfect replica of my home branch. I felt comfortable peering into different classrooms, trying to find a private room. It seemed everywhere I thought of was occupied or unavailable somehow. Still, the feeling of urgency weighed heavily on my mind and heart. I needed to find somewhere that would afford privacy. I didn’t understand why I had to pray or why I could not simply mentally make a request of the Lord. Every time I attempted to do that my thoughts would flee and the words would not come. Finally, I retreated to a place that I often resort to for solitude, the restroom. I was glad to find it empty and I walked to the final stall, entered and closed the door. I felt I needed to kneel and proceeded to do so. Before my knees hit the ground, my mind went back to a matching place.
Perhaps a year or two before in my home branch, my keys were missing. It was a Saturday with few people about. We had been cleaning and now, weary and late for my next appointment I needed my keys. I recalled cleaning the bathroom and so I retreated there, searching and hoping that I would find them. They were nowhere in sight. Distressed, I went to that identical last stall. I closed the cubicle door, collapsed to my knees, and entreated the Lord to show me my keys. I was desperate. Into my mind came a picture of me entering the stall earlier and having nowhere to place my keys putting them on top of the stall partition. There they were!
And so, at this later date, before the words had even come, I knew the location of the lost keys and needed only to whisper thanks before jumping up to retrieve Sandra’s lost keys.
Of all the people in that chapel that day I was the one the Lord spoke to because I had the memory that could solve the mystery. Being God, He knows things like this. He is able to maneuver people and places and times and things to perfectly orchestrate the sorting out of our needs and the answering of our prayers. I needed to remember this later as I prayed and hunted for a job that would suit my talents and my needs. It was important that I realize then that God knew my talents and skills and would know where best they would fit and be beneficial to my employer. I needed to know this when I grew frustrated in seeking an eternal companion. I needed to trust that God was already aware of the person that would best complete me in the eternities and could and would get us together eventually. I needed to trust in this through many and varied circumstances where the answers seemed long in coming. I needed to learn that revelation comes to each of us as our omniscient Father chooses to share it. He uses people and places and things that have been prepared in ways far beyond our capacity to comprehend. Because He is God, He can do that.