22970_000_004A true storyCall unto me, and I will answer thee (Jer. 33:3).
Micah’s very first word was “Why?” From that day on, he asked questions. He asked about clouds, rainbows, rivers, and trees. He asked about books, trains, kings, and skyscrapers.
He liked to think about new things. His mom and dad couldn’t keep up with all the answers he needed. They even bought encyclopedias so that they could look up answers they weren’t sure about. And then one day, when Micah was seven, he asked a very important question: “Mom, how do I know for sure that Heavenly Father is real?”
Mom put down the jar of baby food she’d just taken from the fridge and turned to smile at him. “I’m glad you’re thinking about that, Micah. It’s only a few months until you’ll be old enough to be baptized, and it’s important to know about the promises you’ll be making. Knowing about Heavenly Father is the first step.”
“Oh, I know about Him, Mom. I’ve had lots of Primary lessons, and we’ve read about Him in the scriptures. But how do I find out if it’s really true?”
Mom sat down at the kitchen table and looked Micah right in the eye. “If you want a testimony of your own, you’ll have to do some hard work. You’ve seen lots of people stand up on fast Sunday and bear their testimonies. They tell what they believe.”
“Oh, yeah, like how Sister Thomas always talks about how she loves the temple, and Brother Matsom always cries when he gets to the part about Jesus.”
“Right. And have you noticed how you feel when people are bearing their testimonies?”
“Sometimes I feel warm and happy inside.”
“That’s the Holy Ghost telling you that you are hearing something true. If you want to find your own testimony, you’ll have to pray and ask for help, you’ll have to remember to study your scriptures, and you’ll have to try very hard to keep the commandments so that Heavenly Father will know that you are serious about wanting an answer.”
“I can do that.”
For the next two weeks, Micah’s mom and dad were amazed at how hard Micah worked. He played happily with his brother, Sam, and didn’t get angry. He watched his baby sister while Mom talked with her visiting teachers. He even picked up his toys the first time he was asked. When Dad sat down in the evening before bed to read the Book of Mormon with him, Micah tried very hard to listen and even sounded out a lot of the words himself. But one night Micah didn’t seem happy.
“Is something bothering you, Son?”
“Dad, I’ve been trying for two weeks now. I’ve been really, really good. I’ve read. I’ve prayed. And I’ve been nice! But I still don’t know if Heavenly Father is real or not.”
Dad nodded. “I can understand why you’re frustrated. Sometimes Heavenly Father makes us wait a little while for our answers so that when they do come, they mean more to us.”
“Why would He make me wait? I want to know if He’s real. If I don’t get an answer, then He must not be real.”
Dad put his arm around Micah. “Why don’t we see if there’s an answer in the scriptures?” He opened the Book of Mormon to Ether 12:6 and read, “‘faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.’”
“What’s a trial?” Micah asked. “Mom got a squishy little packet of shampoo in the mail last week that said ‘trial’ on it, but I don’t see how washing my hair is going to help.”
“Well,” Dad said, “That little packet is so a person like your mom can try out a new shampoo and see if she likes it before she buys a big bottle. Mom gives the shampoo a trial so that she can see if it does what she wants it to. When Heavenly Father gives us a trial, it’s kind of like that. He wants to see if we do what He wants us to, even if it’s hard.”
“So Heavenly Father is waiting to see if I’m going to give up or not?”
“A testimony is one of the most important things He can give you. If you were going to give someone a very special present, wouldn’t you want to make sure that person really wanted it and would take care of it?”
“Yes, I guess so.”
“There are all kinds of miracles, Micah. Some of them are big and flashy, like Moses parting the Red Sea, but most of them are quiet, and the quietest of all is when the Holy Ghost talks to us about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Be patient, Son, and listen carefully.”
That night, long after everyone had gone to bed, Micah had a nightmare. It was terrible, and Micah woke up afraid to move. He was too scared to go into Mom and Dad’s room, too scared even to cry out for them to come to him. As he huddled under his blanket, he wondered what he could do to feel better. Last Sunday, his Primary teacher had told his class that when you are very afraid, you should pray for comfort.
“Dear Heavenly Father,” he whispered, “I really need help. I’ve tried very hard to find out if You’re there, and I know I’m supposed to be patient, but I can’t wait any longer. I’m scared.”
As soon as Micah finished his prayer, he heard a noise in the hall. Suddenly the bathroom light switched on, and Dad peeked around the edge of Micah’s bedroom door.
“Are you all right?” Dad said softly. “All of a sudden I woke up, and I’m sure I heard a voice say, ‘Micah needs you.’ What happened?”
“I had a really bad dream, Dad.”
“Oh? Why the big smile then?”
“When I was scared, Heavenly Father heard my prayer and woke you up. He has to be real because He helped me when I asked. You know, it doesn’t matter if it’s not a big, flashy miracle as long as it’s just what you need.”
Dad sat on the edge of Micah’s bed and hugged him tightly. “That’s right, Micah,” he said. “That’s right.”
“Our testimony is a knowledge of who we are—a child of God. …
“We can each gain a testimony of the truth through the Holy Ghost. …
“People often ask me, ‘How do you know?’ ‘How can you know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ?’ While there seems to be no exact formula by which each of us receives a testimony, there does seem to be a … pattern. Though prayer is important in gaining a testimony, we cannot merely ask in prayer for a testimony and expect it to be given immediately to us. …
“Testimonies come … from prayer and from studying the scriptures and applying them in our lives. … There seem to be moments in each of our lives when we can be given the knowledge that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. …
“I wish to [bear] my own testimony … that God lives.”
Elder Robert D. Hales Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Ensign, November 1994, pages 20–22.)