SONG/MESSAGE: Gold in the River, by Elder Johnson
Bishop Johnson: "It's interesting How this song directly relates to an experience I had in mainland China after a little over a year had gone by and I found myself and my family on an island of unemployment, stuck, and could only get off of it through a series of miracles that happened in sequence, while in China, and only after some great trials of faith. I can testify that this is the way it sometimes happens, the Lord takes you to the edge."
When I was in China, and the company did not renew my contract as promised, and I was stuck, unemployed in China, my saved money evaporated very fast, much faster than I thought it ever would. I prayed. I sent letters to heaven, for 3.5 months. My $20k in the bank evaporated to $500 while getting visas, plane trips to Hong Kong for the family, twice, hotels, and high rents back home, and I was now STUCK, no way to even get one person home. I was looking for my answers to prayer in my predetermined idea, to get a job with FORD in China. I tried and tried, and no answer came. My drawer was empty every time I opened it (my email box with no job offer). Finally, at my spiritual end of the road, I couldn't muster any more prayer, I was getting no answers. No solution. No blessing. No job. Expressing this in tears to Christa, she secretly decided to FAST and pray (why didn't I think of that?) and so unbeknownst to me, she did that for 2 days. On the 3rd day my phone went "DING" and I looked to see who could be sending me a message. It was a company that caused me all this trouble in the first place. NOW they said they "might have opportunity for me, interested?" and I put the phone back on the desk and mumbled "not with you!" and ignored my message there, for the next 24 hours.
After a day went by, I looked at my phone and had the thought, maybe it was the Lord trying to help me, but I still with an attitude typed the simple word back by SMS "What?"
they invited me to come over and talk about working on the Bullet Train job they got in northern China and the offer was a really good one, even if precarious, and I took it and we moved 1000 miles north into Liao Ning Province, City of Fuxin to work on the 70 km section of the 700 Km track from BeiJing to ShenYang. It was a big deal. I was the Chief Site Engineer on the job.
Sometimes when we look for answers to prayer to be answered according to OUR desires or opinions or preconceptions, we end up ignoring what the Spirit might be trying to say to us, or we are not patient and faithful enough to let things take their course in time, and then the answers come. In this case, JUST IN TIME as we only had $500 in the bank left and we were in trouble! but not any more. (until the next time )
This song replicates that very suffocating feeling I had, while waiting on the Lord and not knowing why I was not getting the answers I wanted. For a period of 3.5 months. But... there was always Gold in the River, and our China experience was extended for another year, a sudden miracle really, because getting a higher level job in China from an unemployed status in China, almost never ever happens. After the trial of faith, the blessings came.
Jeffrey R. Holland wrote:
"...but there will be times in our lives when even our best spiritual effort and earnest, pleading prayers do not yield the victories for which we have yearned, whether that be regarding the large global matters or the small personal ones. So while we work and wait together for the answers to some of our prayers, I offer you my apostolic promise that they are heard and they are answered, though perhaps not atthe time or in the way we wanted. But they arealwaysanswered at the time and in the way an omniscient and eternally compassionate parent should answer them. My beloved brothers and sisters, please understand that He who never sleeps nor slumbers cares for the happiness and ultimate exaltation of His children above all else that a divine being has to do. He is pure love, gloriously personified, and Merciful Father is His name.
“Well, if this is the case,” you might say, “shouldn’t His love and mercy simply part our personal Red Seas and allow us to walk through our troubles on dry ground? Shouldn’t He send 21st-century seagulls winging in from somewhere to gobble up all of our pesky 21st-century crickets?”
The answer to such questions is “Yes, God can provide miracles instantaneously, but sooner or later we learn that the times and seasons of our mortal journey are His and His alone to direct.”