Friday, January 27, 2017

Does God Really Direct Us Down "Wrong Roads" Sometimes?

Elder Holland gave a talk in General Conference a couple of years ago about what he learned when he and his father took a wrong road on the way home late one night. It generated a lot of discussion online about whether or not God really would direct us down wrong roads in our lives. 

My own take is that God allows us to walk "wrong roads" as part and parcel of mortality and our limited understanding (that he doesn't always stop us from walking the ones we are prone to walk), but I personally don't believe he proactively places us on or guides us to roads that truly are wrong for us. Thus, I don't believe he gives us incorrect answers to our prayers. I might be wrong, but that's how I see it. It just fits my own belief in the nature of God better.

Having said that, it makes perfect sense for someone who sees God as more of an interventionist God than I do - and it can be the only thing that would make sense for some people who thought they received answers to prayers that they followed into situations that caused pain and felt wrong to them. I also am completely open to the idea that God will do that for some people who need to learn from mistakes but won't choose them on their own - those, for example, who mare more inclined to put their head down and live a Law of Moses life, letting others tell them exactly what to so. I can see God directing them off that path in order to get them to the right one, even if that means they walk a hard road to get there.

However, I do believe that God opens doors to us at times and arranges opportunities that we can take or not take. That's how I see my own life, since I can't deny the incredible ways that the path of my life appears to be "directed" in various ways. There have been a couple of moments/periods in my life that I only understand in hindsight as what was necessary to get me to the next place my family needed to be, so, in that sense, I can understand the idea of being on a "wrong path" to get to the "right path" - even though I wouldn't phrase it that way.

I recently have come to phrase those experiences as being on the right track but the wrong train - or, perhaps more accurately, being on the only train at that particular time that would take me to the point on the track where I could catch the next "right train" for that particular time - usually with the core purpose being someone in my family or a personal connection, rather than a professional reason. In that light, I can see my life as a serious of trains connecting me to multiple tracks that made our overall destinations possible to reach - but I had to disembark from each train and climb on a new one each time to get where my family needed to be at each juncture in our life.

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