Tall Green Tree
A friend once told me she had been taught that for those that love Him, our Father in Heaven answers prayers in three ways:

1. Yes
2. Not yet
3. I have a better way

I have really been thinking about her words lately as another friend is, most likely, preparing to return to her heavenly home. She will leave behind a husband and three beautiful daughters. For over a year now, many of us have been praying for her recovery, that her life might be spared. While I know God could still heal her at any moment, I believe the answer we have received to these prayers is the last one on the list. I know it may be hard for many to understand how taking a mother from her young family could be considered a better path than allowing her to remain here. I wanted to share my thoughts on the matter.

Russell M. Nelson, one of the Twelve Apostles, has said, “From an eternal perspective, the only death that is truly premature is the death of one who is not prepared to meet God”( http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/face-the-future-with-faith?lang=eng). It has been obvious to me that my friend has already learned the lessons that usually take a life time to learn and she is prepared to meet God. Her life here has been challenging and I know she has earned the right to “enter into the rest of the Lord” (Moroni 7:3, http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/7). The future she has in store will be glorious and wonderful. I agree that life for her there will be better than it was here.
A modern day prophet has stated:

I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. . . . How much more certain it is . . . to believe that those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond . . . can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them. . . . We live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare.
Joseph F. Smith, (http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/how-to-obtain-revelation-and-inspiration-for-your-personal-life?lang=eng).

My friend will still be a part of her children’s life. In fact, her role in their lives will no longer be limited by “our finite condition, surrounded by our mortal weaknesses”(Smith, reference above). So in a way, you might say that her ability to be a good mother to the children will be enhanced and broadened. She can be with them now whenever they need her, even while they are at school or other places where when she was in her physical body she usually couldn’t go.

As for the family she left behind, I believe that they will be compensated for her loss. How do I know this? I’ve seen it in my own life. My first husband was killed when our children were six and four, over eight years ago. While I’m not to the point that I can say their life is better that it would have been if he had lived, I can say it is just as good. I feel like God has provided them with the blessings and healing that they needed. They miss their dad and always will, but I don’t think their life is less joyful or complete because they can’t see or hear him when he is near.

My church leaders have taught us many times that the Atonement compensates for all unfairness in life. I know taking my friend home so early might seem unfair. But I honestly believe that God will make up her loss to her husband and children. They can be an eternal family someday, and this separation will seem but a moment. For those of us her grieve her loss, we now have the wonderful opportunity of acting as God’s hands as we serve her family.