Sunday, October 28, 2012

When answers to prayer change

As I was reading my scriptures today, I was reminded of various friends of mine who have had very clear, definite answers to prayer that later changed. Most importantly, the prayers were about whom to marry, though sometimes it was about where to move, a job to pursue, someone to reach out to. They got very clear confirmations that their choice was a good one. Only then it didn't work out. The Yes became No. Why?

I don't pretend to have the answers, but I saw an odd example of Yes becoming No in the scriptures this week. In Numbers 21, the Israelites were attacked by fiery serpents who poisoned them and made many of them die. To save Israel, God told Moses to make a brazen serpent. Anyone who looked to the serpent of brass would live. The Book of Mormon references this story several times (1 Ne. 17:412 Ne. 25:20Alma 33:19–2237:4–6) and it made an appearance in a wonderful article in this August's Ensign.

In all cases, the point was to look to Jesus and be saved. The brass serpent was a symbol of the crucifixion, but many refused to look to the Savior to be saved. The brass serpent is a very big YES!

Until we get to 2nd Kings, that is. The people who had lost sight of what they were supposed to be looking to had started worshiping the symbol instead of what it symbolized. The righteous King Hezekiah had the brass serpent broken in pieces. We need ongoing revelation in our day and in our lives.

Yes became No because the circumstances of the people changed. There was a new problem and a new answer.
Yes became No because someone's heart changed.
Yes became No because that Yes was never The Point. It was a path to get where they needed to be.
Yes became No because a stepping stone had become a stumbling block.