Sunday, October 14, 2012

Printers and Prayer

A couple years ago my dad bought me a much-needed printer for my birthday. Or maybe Santa Claus got it for me for Christmas. Either way, I obtained a printer, and it immediately was put to good use. Do you know how convenient it is to have a printer at your apartment, rather than having to walk to campus to print something off? Yeah, you probably do know that.

So, things with my printer were all fine and dandy for a while. Until the beginning of last school year. Sometimes it would print, and sometimes it wouldn't. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, but finally decided maybe it just needed a fresh start with new ink cartridges. Which, I had replaced them multiple times previously, but ink cartridges are expensive and I'm a poor college student so I decided to wait until Christmas to see if Santa Claus would work his wonders. And he did. Two ink cartridges in my stocking! How wonderful.

We replaced the ink cartridges. But life was still a little rough. Just like before, sometimes my printer would work, and sometimes it wouldn't. It was plugged in, the lights were on, it showed up on my computer, I'd make sure the printer cord was properly inserted into my USB port, and still, the print job would just stay on my computer for hours and never send to the printer. But then other times it would print just fine. 

Gradually over the rest of the school year the "just fine" times became less and less frequent. Until the beginning of the summer it just wouldn't ever work at all. Every time I needed to print something I'd try my printer first, but then have to use my roommate Sara's printer, wasting her precious ink and paper resources. I don't think a single thing printed off my printer all summer long. Then a couple weeks ago my friend Danny and I needed to print tickets for the BYU/Utah State football game. And Sara's printer wasn't working! Weird. So I tried my printer, and it actually worked! For the first time in months! Although, it printed off very lightly, so I think it may be time to replace the ink cartridges again. So it worked, but then the next time I needed to print something it wouldn't work again, and I figured it had just been a fluke. A stroke of luck.
.   .   .

This semester has been hellish. The semester from the underworld. And this has nothing to do with my printer not working. It has been extremely difficult and busy school-wise (worst combination of classes ever), and a time of personal struggle and growth and questioning and doubting and learning. And even though I know deep down that God is there (or even higher up than deep down), I think sometimes I forget that He actually wants to help me. Which is silly, because I'm one of the most blessed and loved-by-God people I know. I'm usually quite blessing-spoiled. Anyway, I'd just gotten in this rut of not expecting much to happen when I needed something. But God has His own timetable for showing His children that He is actually listening.

On Thursday I had a paper due for my Teachings of the Living Prophets class (and this is why my whole big long narrative on my printer was necessary), and because of my hectic and demanding schedule I didn't have time to write it until Thursday morning. Class is at 10:00, and I couldn't be late for class, but I was still running around my apartment getting ready at 9:45, just having finished writing my paper. I had no clue how I was going to get to campus with enough time to print my paper, and even though I knew it wouldn't work, I decided to spare a few precious seconds just to see if maybe my own printer would somehow come through for me. So I made sure it was on and hooked my laptop up to it, and as I hit "print" on the document I barely realized I was praying urgently out loud, almost by instinct: "Please work, please! Please Heavenly Father make it print." And I would have just gotten a tiny bit more frustrated and completely forgotten my simple, useless prayer two seconds later, except that immediately I heard my printer make an "I'm getting ready" noise. I held my breath until a piece of paper was engaged and my document began to print. And then I remembered the prayer I had uttered just moments before. And that God was listening to me. And He knew it was important that I print this off and get to class. And that He loves me. And then I ran all the way to campus and got to class just on time, out of breath but happy and humble.

I actually have had a lot of God-loves-me moments the past couple of weeks. And at critical times. And mostly just through simple acts of others: home teachers bringing me a treat, a friend buying me dinner, family loving and caring about me, a parking attendant in Salt Lake noticing my tears of distress and letting me use his parking lot even though I was supposed to park somewhere else, General Conference talks saying just what I needed to hear...And it reminds me of something I heard Brother Mike Chesley say a while ago in my Singles Ward back home about blessings and miracles: "Coincidence? You can say that after every miracle." God knows where I am all the time. He knows my needs.

God doesn't dabble in coincidences. He doesn't bank on things occurring by chance. His hand is in all. He works by the laws of nature and science and the agency of His children to bring about His work. To bestow blessings on His daughter Jillian when she needs them. To give you blessings. To tell you that He exists when you need to hear it.

Printers. Parking attendants. Prophets' inspired words. "Coincidence? You can say that after every miracle."