DEPRESSION, BIPOLAR & ANXIETY - LIVING AS A LATTER-DAY SAINT, LDS

Episode #207 - Why We Don't Get Answers

December 10, 2023 Damon Socha Season 1 Episode 207
DEPRESSION, BIPOLAR & ANXIETY - LIVING AS A LATTER-DAY SAINT, LDS
Episode #207 - Why We Don't Get Answers
Show Notes Transcript

Sometimes we may feel that our Father in Heaven is not answering our questions and concerns.  Sometimes there are good reasons for it.

Episode #207 – Why We Don’t Get Answers.  I’m your host Damon Socha.  This is perhaps the question I get the most.  Why don’t we get answers?  Why do I feel I am in this constant emotional loop that never ends?  Why doesn’t God answer me?  What more do I need to do to get answers?  How do I move forward when I constantly feel as though I am stuck?  I am doing my part, where is the Lord and his part?

We may not ask those questions directly but if you really think about it, most of your deeper, troubling questions come down to why you are not getting answers.  It is a natural part of who we are.  We have a deep seeded need to understand the why.  It is simply the way our brain functions and the way we as mortals are wired to think.  We search for cause and effect.  We want to see the plan for us laid out in plainness.  We want clarity.  We believe that with understanding and clarity we can withstand the trials we are facing.  We think that understanding will provide the fortitude.  And yet, when we do have understanding.  When we do know the purpose and design.  We still struggle through our bouts of mortal misunderstandings and emotional turmoil.  

And yet for the most part we don’t get to know the outcome of our trials.  We often are unable to see and access the plan and design.  We often find ourselves stepping into the darkness just hoping the trial before us continues.  Far too often we wait for the fog and darkness to clear, rather than taking that step.  We doubt, mistrust, lose faith, struggle to find hope and desire.  Even when we take that step of faith or several steps of faith, we so often hope that the fog will clear.  We have done our part.  We have taken the path in darkness.  We have extended our faith.  Now where is my answer.  I have done what I have been asked to do.

Today, I would like to relate a personal story.  My story begins four and one-half years ago when we were living in Cheney, WA.  I had a wonderful job, two acre property in the country.  My wife had a volunteer job she loved.  I had been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis a few years before and medications were providing for a reasonable cure.  Life was good.  When we moved to our new home in Cheney, WA, I had an impression that we would not be there very long.  I thought it strange to feel that way as I had no plans for moving in the future.  And yet it would not leave me.  Because of my life long concerns with mental health, I don’t always concern myself with my emotions and thoughts unless they remain consistent and I feel interrupting impressions.  Meaning for me that I feel impressions when my mind is occupied with other things, the impression doesn’t fit the mentality or emotions of the moment.  This is one of my ways of sorting out answers from the Lord from my own feelings.  I had told my wife several times about my feelings.  One evening we both felt it deeply and prayed that the Lord would show us the path forward.  I told him that we would do anything he asked of us.

The next morning a job recruiter called from the East Coast and because of my previous conversations with the Lord I could not just say no.  I interviewed and followed through with the process.  I have found that if I move forward and it isn’t the Lord things just don’t work out.  As much as I didn’t necessarily want this to work out, it did, and we moved to Baltimore, Maryland.  We had never lived or even been anywhere close to the East Coast.  We knew nothing of the Baltimore area or anyone in the area.  The move tested us in ways I cannot fully explain.  This was stepping into the darkness and unknown.  We had no reason to go to Maryland other than following a prompting.  After some concern about finding a home and location to live, we moved in the summer of 2019 to Baltimore to begin a new chapter of life.  What we did not know is that within a few months the pandemic would interrupt our lives in dramatic ways.  For me, it was more than simply an inconvenience.  While I did not face the prospect of losing my employment, I did contract the illness as most of us did.  However, my autoimmune illness and COVID did not live well together.  I went through a prolonged illness followed by what is now referred to as long COVID.  My first contact with the illness lasted more than a year and I struggled at work to function.  Ultimately, the illness strained my employment sufficiently that I needed to find an alternative.  Basically, I lost my job due to issues the illness caused and my type of work.  Long term illness and construction do not work well together.  

During this troubling time, I received another call about a job offer in Atlanta.  I was hesitant due to my health and other concerns of moving my family again and yet I felt the need to see it out as I had done with the job in Baltimore.  This job worked out and I moved my family to Atlanta, GA.  Well not Atlanta.  I moved to a smaller town outside of Atlanta towards the Alabama border.  I spent the next two years with this company and contracted COVID three more times.  Ultimately, the illness caused stress and the need for another separation.  However, during this timeframe of stress and separation, I contracted the illness a forth time and I proved very difficult.  I ended up losing the job in Atlanta and another job.  During this timeframe, I felt abandoned several times and wondered why the Lord had brought me here only to leave me without a means to support my family.  It was also during this time that I ended up in the hospital ER, passing through a troubling time with my mental health.  The darkness was very real during this timeframe and I wondered if I would need to retire due to my health concerns.  Emotionally I experienced severe anxiety attacks and depression.  I passed through more moments of suicidal thoughts than I care to mention here.  I have never felt more abandoned in the dark.  I really did not know what to do.  

Ultimately, I had to look for another job and was interviewing at two of them.  I was certain that one of the two jobs would be my next place of employment.  However, a third option came about rather unexpectedly and this is where I eventually ended up.  It is where I work now and I do enjoy it very much.  And yet as I look back over the last four years, the trials, struggles and difficulties have been taxing, trying, and as difficult as I have ever faced.  I spend a great deal of time in prayer and just holding onto what little faith I could muster.  I have never faced a time in my life when my mind has just wanted death.  Not suicide, just death.  I just wanted the suffering to end.  I was at the end of my capacity and what I could do.  I could do no more on my part.  I spent may days in bed resting.  As part of my long COVID, I have often dealt with severe fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, severe pain in joints, muscles and skin.  This has brought bouts of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and other issues that commonly occur with mental health challenges.  I admit that my road has not been easy in the slightest. 

When I initially had that impression in Washington, I had no idea what the Lord had planned for my life.  If I had known what the move to Baltimore would have caused, I doubt that I would have come on the journey.  I admit that I do not know the answers to why.  Yes I have learned.  Yes I have grown and developed spiritually.  Yes, I admit that the Lord has provided for the trial and has often intervened in my life in ways that I know it is him.  But I admit that many of my petitions for healing, for relief, for understanding have gone unanswered during this timeframe.  I have petitioned often and the Lord has been willing to provide temporary relief but only temporary.  I admit that in some ways I am still in the dark as to the purposes of the Lord.  And I admit feeling very frustrated about it.  I am by nature more of a planner than most people and for me not understanding or knowing causes me more distress than it should.  I have throughout this timeframe asked for answers and what I have gotten in return is why answers do not always come.  Perhaps some of these might help you in your time of distress.

The first is quite simple and obvious when you listen to my story.  If I had known the path and gotten the answer, would I have taken the journey.  I don’t entirely know but I would think that I might have rationalized myself out of it.  Meaning we don’t get answers sometimes because the Lord knows if we had them, we wouldn’t go through the trials we need to.  We would rationalize ourselves out of them.  Often the Lord can not tell us the answers to why because if he did, then we would act in ways that would cause us to opt out of our trials.  The Lord cannot tell us a timeframe for our healing because he knows that we would attempt to haggle our way out of them.  We would ask for reductions in time, suffering, and a million other things to see if we could pass through the trial but not really experience it.  We would purposely thwart our progression and learning.

The second is that we are receiving answers.  Many times we do not recognize them as answers.  The Lord tends to work small and simple and his answers are easy to miss.  He opens opportunities we see as fortuitous.  We coincidentally happen upon information, people and answers to our questions that don’t come as a spiritual witness.  Much of the revelation we receive does not come in the manner we expect.  As we keep our minds open the Lord can use all types of opportunities in our lives to provide answers.   As I look back over the last four difficult years, I received answers all the time that I just couldn’t see as answers.  If we ask the Lord to show us what he is revealing in simple and small ways, I promise that a whole new world of revelation will open to your view.

Third, I rarely receive answers during prayer.  I know this seems counterintuitive because we pray to get answers to our questions.  But it has been rare from me to receive answers during my prayers.  I am not sure if it is just me and the way the Lord speaks to me but I have realized that if I ask a question, open my mind during the day and wait the Lord provides.  He doesn’t always provide the entire answer at once.  Often a word, a phrase, a scripture will come into my mind to ponder and when I have learned that portion of the answer then another thought, phrase will come into my life through various sources.  I have learned to open the channels to anything that might come into my life.  When I do this, I find that I receive far more answers to my questions.

Fourth, we often do not ask the right questions.  Sometimes, I have to ask the Lord what I should be asking.  We ask questions that the Lord can’t answer at the time.  However, there are questions he can answer and sometimes we need to ask him what the right question is.  When we ask that question it can lead to others and answers do come.  Sometimes we can only have part of the answer based on timing and the Lord’s perfect understanding but we need to be able to ask the right question to obtain the right answer.

Fifth, and this one is strange in some ways.  I have regularly had the Lord reveal to me answers before I ask the question.  I take note of what I feel is revelation because I have found that the Lord knows what questions we will ask and provides revelation before we ask it as part of our willingness to live within his covenant.  We should be willing to accept revelation when it comes even before the question.  The Lord can reveal what we should do before we come to the problem.

Finally, I have at times struggled to understand what is revelation and what is not.  What I have found is that the Lord understands my struggle especially with mental and emotional health problems.  He finds ways of speaking so that we know it is him.  For me, it is repetition.  I will often feel things several times at different moments so that I know what I should do.  It is also feeling something out of sync with my current emotional state and thoughts.  When something comes out of the blue and does so a few times, then I do take note.

One of the most important things I ever did was to ask the Lord to show me how involved he is in my life and also how often he protects and guides me in simple ways.  I was astonished to find out how deeply involved he was and is in the simple details and concerns that are ordinary.  If I had a conflict at work, he has regularly stepped in and helped.  If I am trying to figure out how to solve a problem, he regularly provides insight to let me move forward with the information and abilities that I have.

Are there times when the Lord is silent and I am not getting an answer.  Yes, I have felt that regularly but I also take note when that happens.  The Lord is not a God of inaction so when he doesn’t provide an answer to my question that is an action.  Yes I might be asking the wrong question or not doing my part but even when I am and he doesn’t answer, I realize that there is wisdom in his lack of an answer.  I do attempt to find out why.  If it is timing, something I am doing or not doing.  But if I receive no answer then I move forward without one knowing that he won’t let me travel far without redirection.  And if I don’t get any redirection then I move forward knowing that he is good with what I am doing.

I admit in closing out this podcast that dramatic answers to my prayers have happened but are far more rare in my life that those simply ones that so often go unnoticed by me.  Dramatic answers are rare for a reason.  Dramatic, demonstrative answers require action and because of their nature leave less room for learning and growth.  If we are consistently seeking for these type of answers, we are not living the way the Lord has asked.  He has stated that an unwise and slothful servant needs be commanded in all things.  When we require such manifestations commanded as it were rather than guided, we are leaning into the unwise and slothful servant arena.  I hope today perhaps you have received some of the answers you might be looking to obtain for your life.  I promise that the Lord is in your life, even when the darkness and fog of life might say otherwise.  He is concerned for you and that I have felt many times when I have thought to end this podcast.  His love runs very deep.  May you find him in your life.  Until next week, do your part so that the Lord may do his.