man on the roof

Illustration by Carolyn Vibbert

One rainy fall day, I went into my attic and noticed a leak. Water dripped off the ends of roofing nails between two sets of rafters. Years before, I had done many repairs to my home and wasn’t afraid to attempt new projects. But at this time I was facing personal struggles and lacked confidence. I didn’t feel like I had the emotional strength to deal with the leak, even though I knew something needed to be done before winter came.

A week or two later, I got on my roof with a utility knife, a putty knife, and a caulking gun loaded with roofing tar. I figured I just needed to find the source of the leak and cover it with gooey tar. But I had no idea where the source was. I felt discouraged. I paused and said a prayer, asking the Lord to direct me to the right spot so I could fix the leak. I expected Him to just show me the spot. Instead, one word came to my mind: investigate.

This wasn’t the answer I wanted, but I began to look around. My eyes focused on a vent. I tore off two small shingles by the vent and saw what looked like the source of a leak. I cut out old, dry tar and applied a liberal amount of new tar. I replaced the shingles, and in less than one hour I had completed the job. My depressed spirits were lifted, and I felt good about myself for what I had done to solve the problem. During the next rain, I looked in the attic for leaks and found it dry!

I thought of Oliver Cowdery, who had “[taken] no thought save it was to ask” (D&C 9:7). Like him, I had expected the Lord to simply give me a quick answer to my prayer with no effort on my part. And I thought about how much my spirits were lifted when I had to put forth my own effort to “study it out” (D&C 9:8)—to investigate. I learned that the Lord will not do everything for us. He will help and guide us, but we are also expected to do what we can on our own because this brings personal growth.