Just because we may not always recognize the workings of the Spirit in our lives does not mean that the Spirit is not with us. In looking back over the past forty years of my life, I find that I have had a variety of experiences with the Spirit and with receiving answers to prayer. Many prayers have been answered so directly, so clearly, so unambiguously that there was no doubt as to the course I should follow. On the other hand, many times when I have gone before the Lord in deep sincerity, hungering and thirsting for insight and direction, I have pondered and prayed and pleaded and wrestled and waited upon the Lord. So far as I could tell, I was not guilty of serious sin, and yet no clear answer was forthcoming. President Brigham Young taught us what our course should be in such cases: “If I do not know the will of my Father, and what He requires of me in a certain transaction, if I ask Him to give me wisdom concerning any requirement in life, or in regard to my own course, or that of my friends, my family, my children, or those that I preside over, and get no answer from Him, and then do the very best that my judgment will teach me, He is bound to own and honor that transaction, and He will do so to all intents and purposes.”
I believe there is more to President Young’s counsel than meets the eye. It is certainly true that we should pray with all our hearts for direction and then make the wisest decisions we can. It is my conviction, however, that even on those occasions when we feel so very alone—when we wonder if God is listening—if we are trusting in our Lord and Savior and relying upon his marvelous merits, the Lord is nonetheless directing our paths, for he has so promised us. No doubt there are seasons of our life when we are called upon to proceed without the clear recognition of the Spirit. Yet that does not mean we are alone. I believe that one day, when we are allowed to review the scenes of mortality from a grander perspective, we will be astounded at how closely the Lord directed our paths, orchestrated the events of our lives, and in general led us by that kindly light we know as the Holy Ghost.