Asking the Right Question

I don’t know about you, but for me, 2024 started off on the wrong foot. More specifically, the wrong legs. What I didn’t see coming was that I would be given the gift of a personal miracle and a lesson in the importance of asking the right question. Shall we begin?

The story of the Brother of Jared has always impressed me. When confronted with the problem of being cooped up in their sailing vessels for an indeterminate time with no source of light, he didn’t go to the Lord and say, “Please turn on some lights.” Instead he explained the problem to the Lord, who respond by saying, in essence, “What do you want me to do about it.?” (Ether 2:23) To add insult to injury, the Lord then went on to give him a list of ideas that would not work. The Lord then asked him again, “Wherefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?” (ibid)

So, the Brother of Jared gave it some thought and had the idea to make some stones, and go back to the Lord and have him touch them and make them glow. No longer was the question, “Hey, can you do something about the lights?” The question became a very specific, “Lord, will you touch these stones?” The Lord did, and the Brother of Jared’s idea worked, and he learned much from the resultant miracle. By doing all he could do, and then asking the right question, the Brother of Jared received what he needed, light.

Now, I share with you a small, personal version of that story that I recently experienced.

The holidays came and went. January 2nd rolled around with all the promise that a new year brings. (January 1st is still party-mode.) I was determined to get in better shape, drop a few pounds, etc. Turned out that my body had other plans.

It began with excruciating muscle cramps in my calves. I immediately began doing the expected: stretching, ice, hydrating, eating bananas and taking supplements, but nothing worked. On the contrary, the cramps got worse and spread to my thighs. It was horrible.

Getting in to see the doctor was going to take a few days, and while I waited, my knees and ankles joined the pain party. The inflammation in my knees and ankles, coupled with the muscle cramps in my legs made walking unbearable. Then my shoulders started to ache.

Eventually I was able to get in and see the doctor. A well-meaning P.A. ordered x-rays of my knees (Which looked pretty good). Her diagnosis? Arthritis in my joints, and referred pain in my muscles. She told me to take Advil and submitted a referral for me to see a rheumatologist and an orthopedist to dig in further.

The words “arthritis,” and “rheumatologist” frightened me because my mom had suffered debilitating RA, rheumatoid arthritis for many years of her shortened life. Still, I was not emotionally prepared for that possibility. As soon as my insurance approved the referrals, I immediately scheduled the appointment with the Rheumo, which I am still waiting for.

In the meantime, the pain increased and my mobility decreased. Some nights I would lie in bed and cry as my sweet wife would comfort me. Some days I would sleep 14+ hours, compared to my normal 6-7. Blessedly, I work from home, and I was able to limp into my office to keep my business running. Had anything more been required, I would have been in trouble.

During this time, I approached the Lord often in prayer, and I know others prayed for me as well. The prayers and blessings contained two similar pleas to the Lord: Please heal me, and help the doctors figure out what is wrong with me. I have a testimony of the Lord’s power to heal. I’ve seen the lame walk. I’ve witnessed the blind regain their sight.

But it wasn’t happening. I was in a battle between fear of a life saddled with RA, and having faith that I would be healed.

One evening, my son Ryan was over for dinner with Chrissie and me. I said the blessing on the food, including the requisite “noursihandstregthenanddousthegoodweneed.” As I was about to close in Jesus’ name, a thought popped into my head, which I added to the end of the prayer, “And please bless me to figure out what is wrong with me.”

I’m not sure I had ever asked that specific question up to that point.

After we finished eating, I hobbled over to the couch and opened my laptop. I was determined that I was going to figure this thing out. Another thought popped into my head, “What are you doing differently today than you were before this all started happening?”

I thought about what could have brought all this on, and came up empty. I opened my calendar to see if anything might jog my memory. Within seconds I found a clue: On November 15 I had my annual check-up with my regular doctor. At that appointment he expressed some concern about my cholesterol levels and my family history with heart disease. The result, he put me on a cholesterol-reducing medicine called a statin, specifically, Crestor.

I typed “Crestor muscle cramps joint pain” into Google and hit return. This is what popped up:

“Muscle problems, including muscle breakdown, can be serious in some people and rarely cause kidney damage that can lead to death. Tell your doctor right away if: You have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if you have a fever or feel more tired than usual, while you take CRESTOR”

and this, “Joint pain is another common side effect for many medications. This includes statins like Crestor. In fact, as many as 10% of people taking Crestor in clinical trials reported joint pain.”

The source? Not some hokey website, rather the actual Crestor website. Turns out that a very small percentage of people have adverse reactions to the drug – and I was one of them. (This post is not intended to be an attack on doctors or medications, so please don’t interpret it as such.)

Within 30 minutes of asking the right question, I had my answer. The next morning I skipped my dose and called the doctor to tell him. Within 48 hours, the pain abated and I was able to walk. After five days I was able to take Chrissie on a long-planned cruise – a vacation that we almost cancelled days earlier, as it seemed impossible at the time. It was miraculous.

While my miracle may not be engraved upon golden plates, the lesson in engraved on my heart. As Paul taught, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)

Elder Richard G. Scott taught, “A key to improved prayer is to learn to ask the right questions. Consider changing from asking for the things you want to honestly seeking what He wants for you.” (link)

I am grateful for the healing I have been blessed with, and the promptings that led me here.

PS: If, after reading this post, your thought is to offer medical advice, then I apologize for not being a better writer – either that or you missed the point entirely. I’ll delete any medical-related comments. This is about bigger issues.

PPS: While the statin problem has been solved, all is not well in Bradland. I have a couple of stories for next week, so stay tuned.


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  1. Thank you for sharing your miracle and the reminder to be more thoughtful in prayer and seeking to ask the right question. Looking forward to next week.

  2. I’ve always enjoyed the lessons of the Brother of Jared’s interactions with the Lord in this matter. He went to the Lord with two really important questions about their pending journey in the barges and the Lord used two polar opposite ways of answering them. The first problem was air. To answer that question, the Lord told him exactly what to do and in specific detail.

    But to the question about light, the Lord didn’t tell him what to do but rather, agreed with him that it was a problem, listed a few options that would not work and simply asked, “what will ye that I should do that ye may have light?” So, instead of detailed instructions, he asked the Brother of Jared to use his own intellect and understanding to come up with a solution that the Lord could help with. I liken this to a master asking his apprentice what should be done with a particular issue when, say, building a house. The apprentice knows the master has much more knowledge and experience but the master is using this as a teaching experience for the apprentice.

    The Brother of Jared went away from his conversation with the Lord and had to ponder on this for a while, come up with an idea, go make some clear stones (out of molten rock!) and then return to the top of the mountain to ask the Lord to make his idea work. I can totally relate to the Brother of Jared as he approached the Lord, asking Him not to be angry with his weakness in coming up with his idea. But the Lord had asked him to use his intellect and was evidently just fine with what the Brother of Jared came up with. His idea also seemed to work well. I’ve sometimes wondered if the rocks stopped giving light sometime after they arrived in the promised land or if they just kept on shinning.

    The lesson I’ve taken from this account is the fact that sometimes the Lord chooses to give us very specific instructions as answers to our questions (take the offered job; go visit this family; call this person to that calling) but other times he leaves it up to us to use the talents and abilities he already as given us (if you want that job, go for it; Brother so-and-so will do fine in that calling; “whither [you go] to the North or to the South, to the East or to the west it mattereth not for you cannot go amiss”). The Lord can solve problems for us by giving us knowledge we don’t already have but when we do have the requisite knowledge, He often wants us to use that knowledge to act for ourselves. Involving Him in the process is, however, something He always wants us to do.

    So glad you were inspired to ask the right question in prayer. Learning how to ask inspired questions is indeed a really important part of our spiritual progression and one in which we all probably need some more training.

  3. medical advice: every time you have an “unexplained” medical issue….while the doctors try and figure something out….figure out what you are supposed to learn. John 9:1-5

    back on topic. I bought a “journal edition” of the Book of Mormon for my study this year. As I read, I write whatever thought pops into my head. some are spiritual, and some are secular. As I was reading 1 Nephi 17, I had a similar thought to the Brother of Jared when it came to Nephi building the boat. The Lord told him to build a boat. that was the goal/commandment. Instead of asking for the materials or the tools, he backed up to the very beginning, (a very good place to start) and asked where to find the materials to make the tools. He didn’t ask for the materials to be given to him, just to be pointed in the right direction.

    This, in turn, reminds me of my great grandfather’s advice: Work as if everything depended on you, and have faith as if everything depended on the Lord.

  4. I like the way the Quakers do it. Instead of chattering into the Lord’s ear, they sit in silence and listen for messages the Lord might have for them. I also used to suffer from joint pain, until I discovered turmeric. Not silly capsules, but buy a five pound bag online and take a heaping teaspoon every day in juice (or milk and honey). Now I could play volleyball (but I don’t . . . ).

    1. Thank you so much for sharing and finding meaning in something challenging and personal like this. This post ended up being the next answer our faculty needed in decisions were trying to make, so thank you for that.

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