I am now in my old age. My husband passed away twelve years ago. He died on the morning of Christmas Eve. Since that time I have been very lonely, especially at Christmas time. A few years ago, as Christmas was approaching, I felt this deep sadness settle in and with it the strong desire to go be with my husband and two daughters who had passed on. I knelt by my little kitchen table and poured out my heart to my Father in Heaven. I said, ‘How much longer, Father? I want to come home!’ I got up and opened my scriptures randomly. They opened to the Doctrine and Covenants Section ninety-nine. The first five verses did not apply to me, but as I read verses six through eight, my heart started to pound.
‘And now verily I say unto you, that it is not expedient that you should go until your children are provided for, and sent up kindly to the Bishop of Zion.
And after a few years, if thou desirest of me thou mayest go up also unto the goodly land to possess thine inheritance;
Otherwise thou shalt continue proclaiming my gospel until thou be taken. Amen.’ (D&C 99:6-8).
I made up my mind to stop whining and do my best to help my family through these troubled times. I still look forward to the day when I am allowed to walk through the veil into that glorious future which awaits us all, but not until I have finished my mission on earth.
I love the scriptures! I know I can find answers to my questions and hope for the future through them. In this case, just knowing that there was a purpose in my life and that God loved me and had a plan for me helped lift my depression.
A Sister from Idaho, USA
Dr. Gary says: Not everyone can expect to open the scriptures and have an answer to prayer given them as happened in this case. It usually isn’t quite that easy. It worked well for this sister probably because of her faith, which not all of us have yet developed; and due to the fact that she had done her homework. She had already established a close relationship with the Savior and with the scriptures through long hours of study and prayer. And even then, the answers we seek are sometimes not immediately received and come in a less dramatic way. Patience and accepting the Lord’s timetable and plan for us is often required. But in whatever form, and in whatever timeframe, we have the Lord’s promise that with the proper attitude and approach, the needed answers will come (Matthew 7:7; D&C 4:7). Since life is as difficult as it is, it makes sense that we each do our best to develop the kind of spiritual resource this good sister was able to rely on at a difficult time. That goal may be a long way off for some of us; but like everything, it begins with taking that first step; and then another, and another.
It’s also clear that cases of clinical depression may not be resolved without medication, counseling or other interventions. And in some cases, really good people continue to suffer for some time in spite of anything they might do. This fact, however, doesn’t minimize the value of faith, study and prayer in helping us through difficult times. To the faithful, the Lord said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18).