Sheri Dew once said that God speaks to every human being in different ways, that we should all know how God speaks to us personally, and if we don't know yet then to ask him. I have learned over the last 5 years or so that God very clearly speaks to me through scripture.
The first such example I can recall was about five years ago. Caleb was just a baby, and if you know Caleb, he cried almost every waking moment for the first year of his life, and he was awake way more than he ever slept. It was physically and emotionally exhausting and draining. As (too often) is the case, when things get desperate I was relying on my own smarts to try and solve my problems. I read every baby sleep book I could find, I asked everyone I knew, and still he cried and still he didn't sleep.
I have discovered what my wits end looks like: 3am, me sitting on the floor, a screaming baby in my arms, tears rolling down both of our faces. "GO TO SLEEP" I was yelling through my sobs. James found me there, took Caleb from my arms and lovingly (probably more than a little alarmed!) sent me to bed.
The next morning, in the pit of despair and desperation, I finally turned to God. I opened my scriptures and let them fall where they might. These words were the first my eyes fell on:
And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God... And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their
That verse (highlighted) was so clearly an answer to me: no, my "burden" baby who didn't sleep would not be lifted. My prayer would not be answered with a miracle of Caleb beginning to sleep. Instead, God would lift me up and give me the strength to function as a mother to both Caleb and Colin with little to no sleep. He would preserve my mind, give me patience, see me through it.
I was awash in the "peace that passes all understanding." I was okay with the answer, even though it wasn't the "miracle of deliverance" I wanted. And I understood the promise with the associated blessing: that this experience would help me to "stand as a witness" to others that God hears and answers prayers and "visits us in our afflictions."
It wasn't until a few days later that I realized I never read how this scripture story ended. The story itself is about an oppressed people in physical bondage to another kingdom. Out of pure curiosity, now that the fog had cleared, I opened the pages again to read on. What I read made me laugh out loud, and sealed to me the revelation that God will not only speak to me through scripture, but that he will manage to find such literal lines that there will be no mistaking on my part the answer: