“How was school today?” Dad asked Katie as she sat down to do her homework.
“Not good.” Katie heaved a big sigh. “Do you remember that boy who has been teasing me so much?”
“Well, I’ve been asking Heavenly Father to take him away. I just want him to go to another school, or at least another classroom, but nothing has happened. He hasn’t even moved to another seat. Doesn’t Heavenly Father care about me?”
Dad put his hand over Katie’s. “Sure He cares, honey. But maybe He’s helping you in ways you aren’t even aware of.”
“What do you mean?”
Dad leaned back in his chair. “Do you remember a few years ago, when our family went backpacking in the mountains?”
“I think so.”
“You were very little then, but you wanted to carry your own pack. I’m afraid that it got pretty heavy long before we reached our campsite.”
“I remember now.” Katie’s face brightened. “I was tired, so we sat down to rest beside a stream. And then, when we started out again, you walked right beside me. The pack seemed much lighter then, and I was able to carry it all the way to camp.”
“Did you know that I was helping you?” Dad asked quietly.
“You mean by walking beside me and singing with me?”
“Yes. And also as we walked side by side, I was reaching out my hand and lifting the pack up off your back.”
“You were?” Katie looked at him in surprise. “And I didn’t even know it. No wonder my pack felt lighter—it was!”
Dad nodded. “Sometimes when we have burdens to bear, God doesn’t take them away. He just helps us carry them.”
“Like those people in the Book of Mormon,” Katie said, suddenly remembering her last Primary lesson. “The Lamanites were making them work like slaves, so they prayed and God made it so that they couldn’t even feel the heavy burdens on their backs.”
“Exactly.” Dad reached for his Book of Mormon and opened it. “You have a good memory. That is the story of Alma and his people when the Lamanites found them in the wilderness. Listen to this: ‘And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease.’* “ Dad closed the book and looked at Katie. “God hasn’t taken away your burdens, but is it possible that He’s answering your prayers by making them light?”
Katie thought for a moment. “Well, Thomas has been nicer to me lately. He’s not as annoying as he was at first.”
“You see?” Dad smiled. “You are being helped.”
“OK,” Katie said, “I’ll stop praying for Thomas to move away. But I’ll keep praying for Heavenly Father to stay really close by.”
“Close enough to reach out a hand and lift your pack off your back?” Dad asked.
Katie nodded. “Exactly.”