and it shall be given unto you;
and ye shall find;
and it shall be opened unto you. (3 Nephi 14:7-8)
There are no asterisks next to this verse.
No exceptions or qualifiers.
The Savior didn’t put an expiration date at the end.
So why is it so hard to believe sometimes?
I think it’s because of the space.
Ask ----> Given
Seek ----> Find
Knock ----> Opened
The part between the asking and giving and seeking and finding and knocking and opening.
Sometimes what we ask for is nowhere to be found.
Sometimes we have been seeking, but we still can’t find it.
Sometimes we have knocked, but the door is still closed.
It even feels locked sometimes.
So what do we do?
How do you trust in a timeless promise from the Lord in that space?
On April 20th, 2018 Jake and I hopped in the car to go to Disneyland.
We were waiting for news on fulltime jobs we were both really hoping for.
We would be notified by email, and we decided it would be fun to celebrate in Disneyland.
Or figure out new life goals in Disneyland.
I held both of our phones, one in each hand, and checked excessively for email notifications while Jake droved a borrowed Honda Fit on the freeway near Primm, Nevada.
Our phones buzzed and two emails popped up, side by side.
We got off the Primm exit and pulled into a gas station as I quickly opened the emails and compared them.
We were both hired.
Our lives changed.
Tears came for me.
We took pictures and called family.
It was the perfect day.
Although it was just the two of us at this point, this was the day I started to worry about the future.
We were not pregnant.
Kids were not even really on our mind at that point.
But as I sent the email back responding that I accepted the position, I wondered how long I would do it.
When I had children, would I stay home?
Would I keep working?
What was I supposed to do?
How would I know the right choice?
I took my question to the Lord.
I asked Him.
And nothing happened.
Over the next three years I studied, prayed, worried, and counseled.
I tried so hard to figure it out, but nothing came.
I took it with me on a sticky note to General Conference and other church meetings.
I studied the scriptures and asked people I trusted.
Fast forward a few months later and I was pregnant.
Now it was not just me asking this question.
Everyone seemed to want to know.
But I still did not know what to do.
Where were the answers?
Those open doors He promised?
I know I was knocking.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I talked with HR about maternity leave benefits. Part of the paperwork asked me to write down a tentative return date if I was planning to return to work.
Without a second thought I checked the box that I would return and put the date down.
The answer to my question was so simple.
You’ll go back to work.
Recently I have looked back on that experience, those questions.
Why make me wait so long?
The answer was so simple.
The Lord could have given it to me so easily.
I know He could have shared it at the gas station in Primm, Nevada.
He could have told me after that in one of those meetings or scripture studies or priesthood blessings or prayers.
I know He loves me most and knows me best.
So why the space?
Because He loves me most and knows me best.
And He had much more than just a “yes” for me.
I don’t know all the answers.
But in the space, I found empathy.
I was slower to judge.
I listened to Him better.
I looked to Him more.
And when I received my answer, I had no doubt that it was from God.
His hand in my decision has carried me through the difficult balance of life.
I know I am doing His will for me and for my family right now.
But even more important than the answer,
Someone was revealed to me.
The One who fills in every gap.
The One who is with us in the space.
Revelation is not just about receiving answers to questions we ask.
It’s about seeing more of Jesus Christ in our lives.
In the space.
And I see Him better now.
He makes me happy.
A student came to see me a few weeks ago.
She asked about Jake.
I showed her a video Jake sent me of Hank saying,
“Love you mom”.
My eyes watered just watching.
When it was over, she said,
“Wow. What’s that like?”
I wasn’t sure what to say.
It isn’t something I’ve been able to put into words yet.
But I think it’s like catching rainbows.
Jake still remembers the first time he saw a rainbow.
Just after a storm he saw the bowed colors in the sky and pointed them out to his parents.
“Do you know what’s at the end of those?” they asked.
Jake didn’t know.
“Gold!” they said.
Jake could not understand why they were just sitting at home when there was gold to be found at the end of the rainbow!
So, they hopped in the car, and they drove to find it.
Jake said they searched and searched.
He stretched his seatbelt out as far as he could to look over the middle consul to see out of the windshield.
Jake chose the direction they took.
His dad took every right and left turn Jake indicated with little pointing fingers.
It looked like it was just right there,
but they could never quite reach it.
Eventually the emerging sun burned away the colors, but Jake didn’t mind.
He said they laughed and smiled while they drove, and it was one of his favorite days.
A few nights ago, Hank and I were playing on the living room couch.
The decorative glass in the front door cast tiny rainbows through the living room.
The sun was just in the right place.
I could see one on Hank’s shirt, so I pointed it out to him.
“Rainbow,” he repeated.
The awe in his voice was sweet.
So, we tried to catch some.
We crouched down close to the front door, catching the rainbows left on the walls.
Hank laughed and smiled and showed Jake when he got home.
It was one of my favorite days.
What’s that like?
Like catching rainbows.
And I couldn’t be happier.
We use the word “orthopedic” to describe the branch of medicine called to correct or repair bones and muscles.
The word comes from an older word, “orthopedia” which Nicholas Andry, a professor of medicine at the University of Paris, used to title his book published in 1741.
It comes from two Greek words.
Orthos, meaning “straight and free from deformity”
And paidios, which means “child”.
Nicholas Andry wrote about the importance of treating children born with physical challenges.
Freeing them from difficulties many face from birth.
While the orthopedic world has come a long way, it’s incredible to consider its roots.
Even in a literal sense.
Nicholas Andry chose a symbol to represent his mission in orthopedia.
He penned a young tree with a bend in its trunk tied to a stake.
A little tree who needed a little help to grow.
When my sister Chloe was born, we discovered that she had a club foot.
She needed a little help to grow.
This tiny girl endured surgery, wore corrective shoes, braces, and endured extensive casting.
Each step she takes is a miracle.
We refer to the Savior as the Master Physician.
But sometimes I wonder if He would have been an Orthopedic.
One who corrects.
Who frees us from difficulties.
Who wants to help us take steps.
One who sees the child in all of us.
I think He knows we need a little help to grow.
And He's happy to help.
My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!