Faith Stories

Faith Stories

“THERE IS THE LIGHT
Excerpts from a talk by Elder John H. Groberg /October, 1976

On one occasion, as a missionary in Tonga, I received word that a missionary was very ill on a somewhat distant island. The weather was threatening, but feeling responsible, and after prayer, we left to investigate the situation. Extra heavy seas slowed our progress, and it was late afternoon before we arrived. The missionary was indeed very ill. Fervent prayer was followed by administration, during which the impression came very strongly to get him back to hospital on the main island, and to do it now! The weather had deteriorated, but the impression was strong–“Get back now”–and one learns to obey the all-important prompting of the Spirit.  There was much concern expressed about the darkness, the storm, and the formidable reef with its extremely narrow opening to the harbor. Some found reasons to stay behind; but soon eight persons had boarded  the boat.

No sooner had we made our commitment to the open seas than the intensity of the storm seemed to increase sevenfold. As the sun sank, so did my spirit seem to sink into the darkness of doubt and apprehension. I found my spirit communing with the Spirit of the father of an afflicted child in the New Testament, as he exclaimed, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

As we rolled and tossed closer and closer to the reef, all eyes searched for the light that marked the opening–the only entry to our home. Where was it? Then I heard the chilling sound of the waves crashing and chewing against the reef!  It was close-too close.  Where was the light?   Unless we hit the opening exactly we would be smashed against the reef.   It seemed that all the elements were bent on our total destruction.  Our eyes strained against the blackness, but we could not see the light.

At the height of this panic, I looked at the captain-and there I saw the face of calmness–the ageless face of wisdom and experience–as his eyes penetrated the darkness ahead.  Quietly his weather-roughened lips parted, and without moving his fixed gaze and just perceptibly shifting the wheel, he breathed those life- giving words, “Ko e maama e” (“There is the light.)

I could not see the light, but the captain could see it.  And I knew he could see it. Those eyes, long experienced in ocean travel, were not fooled by the madness of the storm nor were they influenced by the pleadings of those of lesser experience to turn to the left or to the right.

Soon we were in the protected harbor. We were, home. Then and only then did WE
see through the darkness that one small light–exactly where the captain had said it was. Had we waited until we ourselves could see the light we would have been smashed to pieces.  But trusting in those experienced eyes, we lived.

And so the great lesson: There are those who, through years of experience and training, and by virtue of special divine callings, can see further and better and more clearly–and can and will save us in those situations where serious injury or death-both spiritual and physical-would be upon us before we ourselves could see.

I testify that in our day THERE IS A LIVING PROPHET whose eyes see the light that can and will save us and the world. When all about us are sinking in darkness and fear and despair, when destruction seems close and the raging fury of men and demons ensnares us in seemingly insoluble problems, listen as he calmly says “There is the light. This is the way.” I testify that he will guide us safely home IF WE WILL BUT LISTEN AND OBEY.

THE STORM IS PERHAPS LIKE THE WORLD, WITH THE MANY FALSE DOCTRINES AND SINKING VALUES.  THE BOAT IS OUR TRUTH, AND THE CHURCH.  THE LIGHT IS THE GOSPEL: TRUTH

This is a true story of something that happened just a few years ago at USC.  There was a professor of philosophy there who was a deeply committed atheist.  His primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester attempting to prove that God couldn’t exist. His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his impeccable logic.
     For twenty years, he had taught this class and no one had ever had the courage to go against him.  Sure, some had argued in class at times, but no one had ever ‘really gone against him’ (you’ll see what I mean later). Nobody would go against him because he had a reputation.  At the end of every semester, on the last day, he would say to his class of 300 students, “If there is anyone here, who still believes in Jesus, stand up!”
     In twenty years, no one had ever stood up.  They knew what he was going to do next.  He would say, because anyone who does believe in God is a fool. If God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking.  Such a simple task to prove that he is God, and yet he can’t do it.”  And every year, he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor of the classroom and it would shatter into a hundred pieces.  All of the students could do nothing but stop and stare.
     Most of the students were convinced that God couldn’t exist. Certainly, a number of Christians had slipped through, but for 20 years, they had been too afraid to stand up.
     Well, a few years ago, there was a freshman that happened to get enrolled in the class.  He was a Christian, and had heard the stories about this professor.  He had to take the class because it was one of the required classes for his major.  And he was afraid of what would happen.  For three months that semester, he prayed every morning that he would have the courage to stand up no matter what the professor said or what the class thought.
Nothing they said or did could ever shatter his faith, he hoped.
     Finally the day came.  The professor stood in front of the class and said, “If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!”  The professor and the class of 300 people looked at him in shock, as he stood up at the back of the classroom.  The professor shouted, “You FOOL!!  If God existed, he could keep this piece of chalk from breaking when it hit the ground!”  He proceeded to drop the chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of
his fingers, off his shirt cuff, onto the pleats of his pants, down his leg, and off his shoe.  As it hit the ground, it simply rolled away, unbroken.  The Professor’s jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk.  He looked up at the young man and then ran out of the lecture hall.
     The young man who had stood up proceeded to walk to the front of the room and share his faith in Jesus for the next half-hour.  300 students stayed and listened as he told of God’s love for them and of his power through Jesus. “Yet to all who received HIM, to those who believed in HIS name, HE gave the right to become children of God.  Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of GOD.”

 

Grant Oratorical Contest, BYU Speeches, December 1, 1964, p. 6
A young man, recently released as president of the Northwestern States Mission, had a remarkable experience while attending Cornell University, which exemplifies spiritual valiancy by trusting in the Lord. As a student, he was called to serve in a district presidency at Cornell and one Sunday was assigned to conduct a branch conference 200 miles away. When he had driven home the night before, he noticed that the gas tank of the car was empty. This, coupled with the fact that he, being a student, didn’t have a dime to his name, presented a formidable problem. He had no money, too much pride to borrow, an important Church assignment 200 miles away, and an empty gas tank.

We remember as well as he did Nephi’s testimony that the Lord will prepare a way, but I wonder if we would have had the spiritual valiancy to put complete trust and confidence in the Lord.

This young man rose early that Sunday morning, knelt in prayer and asked the Lord to open a way for him to fill his assignment; and then he started out with an empty gas tank, but a heart full of faith. His heart remained full and the tank remained empty as he traveled over 400 miles that day in the service of the Lord.

Have we developed this kind of spiritual valiancy and trust in the Lord in our lives? From these and other examples how may we define “spiritual valiancy”?  Surely it is more than just attending all of our church meetings, or taking a required religion class, or being a returned missionary, or not smoking and drinking at B.Y.U. Sometimes we get the idea, because we live on a higher spiritual plane than the rest of the world, that we are valiant and they are mediocre. But we cannot judge our spiritual valiancy by comparing ourselves with the world; we cannot judge our spiritual valiancy by comparing ourselves with other members of the Church. We can only compare what we are with what we can be as we develop faith in God and the courage to do His will. I believe spiritual valiancy is living personally close to the Lord and putting all of our trust in Him all of the time. It’s having the humility to know and the courage to do the right things for the right reasons, even when it’s very difficult. Spiritual valiancy is going the third mile.

One of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever heard concerns the ultimate reward for rising above mediocrity to spiritual valiancy. Apostle Melvin J. Ballard, another of the spiritual giants of this dispensation, received a foretaste of the joys of eternal life promised to those who are valiant in their testimony of the Savior. He recalls:
“I found myself one evening in the dreams of the night, in that sacred building, the temple. After a season of prayer and rejoicing, I was informed that I should have the privilege of entering into one of those sacred rooms to meet a glorious Personage, and, as I entered the door I saw seated on a raised platform, the most glorious Being my eyes have ever beheld or that I ever conceived existed in all the eternal worlds. As I approached to be introduced, He arose and stepped toward me with extended arms, and He smiled as He softly spoke my name. If I shall live to be a million years old I shall
never forget that smile. He took me into His arms and kissed me, until the marrow of my bones seemed to melt. When He had finished I fell at His feet, and as I bathed them with my tears and kisses, I saw the prints of the nails in the feet of the Redeemer of the world.
“The feeling that I had in the presence of Him who hath all things in His hands-to have His love, His affection and His blessing was such that if I ever can receive that of which I had but a foretaste, I would give all that I am, all that I ever hope to be, to feel what I then felt.”

As Apostle Ballard did, we too must develop spiritual valiancy in our lives, that we may someday stand in the presence of God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I bear my solemn witness that Jesus is the Christ. This is His Church; I know this as I live. May we have the courage to rise above spiritual mediocrity to spiritual valiancy in our testimonies of the truth, I humbly pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Lydia Goldthwait was born in 1812 in Massachusetts.  She was baptized in 1833, and her faith in the gospel was immediately manifested in spiritual experiences that included speaking in tongues. In the spring of 1835, Lydia had the chance to travel to Kirtland, where she hoped to meet Joseph Smith.  Upon arriving, she was introduced to Vincent
Knight, who greeted her with these words: “Sister, the Prophet is in bondage and has been brought into distress by the persecutions of the wicked, and if you have any means to give, it will be a benefit to him.” In response, Lydia emptied her purse and came up with about fifty dollars; she told brother Knight, “Here is all I have.  I only wish it was more” Lydias history continues: “He looked at it and counted it and fervently exclaimed, ‘Thank God, this will release and set the prophet free! “The young girl was without means now, even to procure a meal or a night’s lodging.  Still that sweet spirit that rested upon her whispered ‘all will be well.’ “As evening drew on, Vincent Knight returned and brought the welcome news that Joseph was at liberty, and Lydia’s joy to think that she had been the humble means of helping the Prophet was unbounded.” In Kirtland, Lydia was married to Newel Knight (no relation to Vincent) in Nov. 1835.  He died in 1847, and she continued across the plains alone with her seven children.  She was called by Brigham Young to assist in the St. George temple when that building was completed in 1877, and served faithfully until her death in 1884.

“GOD’S EMBROIDERY”
When I was a little boy, my mother used to embroider a great deal.  I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering.  I told her that it looked like a mess from where I was.  As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat.  She would smile at me, look down and gently say, “My son, you go about your playing for awhile, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side.”

I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view.  A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother’s voice say, “Son, come and sit on my knee.” This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy.

Then Mother would say to me, “My son, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design.  I was only following it.  Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing.” Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, “Father, what are You doing?” He has answered, “I am embroidering your life.” I say, “But it looks like a mess to me.  It seems so jumbled.  The threads seem so dark.  Why can’t they all be bright?” The Father seems to tell me, “‘My child, you go about your business of doing My business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side.”
Author Unknown

A TEST OF FAITH
This letter was found wired to the handle of an old pump in the Goby Desert that offered the only hope of drinking water on a lonely and seldom used trail.  It read: This pump is all right as of June 1932.  I put a new sucker washer in it and it ought to last five years.  But the washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed.  Under the white colored rock I buried a bottle of water.  There is enough water in it to prime the pump, but not
if you drink some first.  Pour out about one fourth and let’er soak to wet the leather.  Then pour the rest and pump like crazy.  You’ll get water, the well has never run dry.  “Have Faith.”  When you get all the water you want, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next feller.  Signed, Desert Pete, P.S. Don’t go drinking up the water first. Prime the pump and you’ll get all you can hold.

Imagine now, if you were a lonely struggling survivor, your canteen is dry, your parched throat is crying for water, what would you do?  Drink the water or prime the pump?  Would you have the faith to accept the word of an old desert hermit that you had never met or even seen?  If you did, you could have all the water you could use and leave some for the next person, possibly saving that person’s life.  Or would the thought of doubt and self concern control your decision?  A thousand thoughts would go through your mind
“What if the man was a joker playing a cruel trick on others?” or “Maybe the well is dry and there is no water to pump.” or “What if the pump didn’t work, the water in the bottle would be gone and you would be stranded and left to die.”

Sometimes we are asked to exercise our faith in Heavenly Father and His plan. We do not have all the answers and must take that step into the darkness and have faith that He will be there and save us.

BYU Speeches, December 1, 1964, p. 5
A tragic incident illustrating this quality occurred on a beautiful summer morning in 1879. Two young missionaries, Elders Joseph Standing and Rudger Clawson, were walking through a wooded area in the state of Georgia on their way to preach the gospel in a small town. Suddenly they were surrounded by an angry mob of well-armed men who held them prisoner for several hours and abused them. They tried repeatedly to get the senior companion, Elder Standing, to deny his testimony of the gospel. When he continually refused, one of the enraged mob shot him through the head with a .45 caliber
pistol. As this faithful missionary fell dead at the feet of his terrified young junior companion, all guns were then leveled at Elder Clawson. By denying his testimony of the gospel he could save his life. I wonder what we would have done. The leader gave the command, “Kill him!” This courageous young missionary folded his arms across his chest and calmly said, “Shoot.” Because of this kind of spiritual valiancy Elder Rudger Clawson was later called by the Lord to serve as an apostle under President Heber J. Grant.  Would you, would I, die for the truth? Will we live for the truth? Which takes more valiancy?

The Surrounding Master
Author Unknown
A mother wishing to encourage her son’s progress at the piano, bought tickets to a Paderewski performance. When the evening arrived, they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway waiting on stage. Soon the mother found a friend to talk to, and the boy slipped away. At eight o’clock, the lights in the auditorium began to dim, the spotlights came on, and only then did they notice the boy—upon the bench, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” His mother gasped, but before she could retrieve her son, the master appeared on the stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy. “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side and improvised a delightful obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized. In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear time and time again, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” And, as we do, He augments and supplements until work of amazing beauty is created.

“Because My Father Said So”
by Richard L. Evans
I remember the words of a beloved stake president, and I thank him for the thought he left with me some months ago.  He said, “I used to ride the range with my father, looking for lost sheep or cattle.  And as we would mount a ridge we would look off into a distant hollow or a clump f trees, and my father would say, “There they are. . .”  But this stake president said, “My father could see farther than I could, and often I couldn’t see them.  But I knew they were there because my father said so.” There are many things, my beloved brethren and sisters, that I know and you know are there, because our Father said so.  And I know that he lives, that he made us in his image, that he sent his divine Son, our Savior, to show us the way of life and redeem us from death.  I know that he will enter into our lives as fully as we let him, and that his church and gospel and way of
life are on earth and here with us, and that we will realize our highest possibilities if we accept the counsels God has given, and that we will fall somewhat, somewhere short of what we might have been or might had had if we run contrary to his commandments.  God bless you and be with you always, I pray.

Healing
“I will tell you a story and then I shall stop. I got a telephone message some time ago, I think a year ago, may be, that I had some relatives in the hospital. They wanted me to hurry up there and administer to them. They were two sisters. They were married, and they were not city people, and, by the way, their father and mother were good Latter-day Saints, and these young girls had been taught and they had been active, but they were not
healed, so they came to the hospital. When I arrived I found one of them in one room, and she had been operated upon, and getting along very nicely.

The other sister wanted me to bless her before she was operated upon. I asked her how much she was paying for her room. She told me. ‘And how much are you paying the doctor?’ ‘Three hundred dollars.’ ‘Well, haven’t you got confidence in him? He is charging you enough. Why don’t you trust him?’ ‘Well,’ she said, ‘Uncle Golden, I have been administered to, but I was not healed, and I felt forced to come to the doctor.’ I said, ‘I am a little jealous for God, and if I bless you, and you are healed, who is going to get the credit? If the doctor gets all the money and all the credit, and God heals you, I don’t think that fair.’ So I blessed her as best I knew how, and I blessed the doctor. I made a full anointing and blessed the nurse, and asked God that his spirit might be there and the patient’s life be spared. I realize that hospitals, physicians, and surgeons, do wonderful things, and that faith without works is dead. I want to bear testimony to you, and I know it, I don’t think it, I don’t imagine it: I have seen God heal the sick. I know it isn’t in me,
but I know that where there is faith there is nothing  impossible, and these young elders who are sent out now, it may not be wisdom to send them out as we went, but when we were in the South, God had to take care of us, whether it was stormy or sunshine, as we had no choice. I know the Lord can take care of us and will take care of us if we have faith.”–J. Golden Kimball, _Conference Report_, October 1927, p.54

Pushing Against the Rock
Author Unknown

There once was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the savior appeared The Lord told him he had a work for him to do, and showed him a large rock explaining that he was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, and for many days he toiled from sunup to sundown; his shoulder set squarely against the cold massive surface of the rock pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture – placing thoughts in the man’s mind, such as “Why kill yourself over this? You’re never going to move it! Or “Boy, you’ve been at it a long time and you haven’t even scratched the surface!” etc. giving the man the impression the task was impossible and the man was an unworthy servant because he wasn’t moving the massive stone.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man and he started to ease up in his efforts. “Why kill myself?” he thought. I’ll just put in my time putting forth just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough.” And this he did or at least planned on doing until, one day, he decided to take his troubles to the Lord.

“Lord,” he said, “I have labored hard and long in your service, putting forth all my strength to do that which you have asked of me. Yet after all this time, I have not even budged that rock even half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

To this the Lord responded compassionately, “My friend…when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you to push against the rock with all your strength and that you have done. But never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. At least not by yourself… Your task was to push. And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed, ready to quit. But is this really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled; your back sinewed and brown. Your hands are callused from constant pressure and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your ability now far surpasses that which you used to have. Yet still, you haven’t succeeded in moving the rock; and you come to me now with a heavy heart and your strength spent. I, my friend will move the rock. Your calling was to be obedient and push, and to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom…and this you have done.”

Author Unknown

 

The Miracle of the Chinese Bamboo Tree

After the seed for this amazing tree is planted, you see nothing, for four years except for a tiny shoot coming out of a bulb.  During those four years, all the growth is underground in a massive, fibrous root structure that spreads deep and wide in the earth.  But then in the fifth year the Chinese Bamboo tree grows to eighty feet!

Many things in life are like the Chinese Bamboo tree.  One works and invests time and effort, and does everything possible to nurture growth, and sometimes one see nothing for weeks, months or even years.  But through patience, perseverance, diligence, work and nurturing, that “fifth year” will come, and all will be astonished at the growth and change which takes place.

Patience is faith in action.  Patience is emotional diligence.  It is the willingness to suffer inside so that others can grow.  It reveals love.  It gives birth to understanding.  Even as we become aware of our suffering in love, we learn about ourselves and our own weaknesses and motives.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, we must “never, never, NEVER give up!”

“. . .And A Little Child”
 – Earl Nightingale
(from ‘Especially For Mormons’)

There’s a story, which I understand is true, about a small farming community in the Southwest, which demonstrates an interesting and important point.

It seems that this community had been suffering for a long time from a serious drought.  Their crops and cattle faced certain destruction along with their economy if the needed rains continued to stay away.  Finally, the situation became so serious that drastic measures were called for and the entire population was called upon to collect at the small local church to pray for rain.

On the appointed day the thirty or forty families of the area dutifully showed up at the church.  The sky was a blazing sheet of brass without a cloud in sight.  The heat was almost more than a person could stand. Dust devils could be seen whirly across the fields and the group looked upon the dreary scene through squinted eyes as they trooped into the church, depressed and silent.

Inside, led by the local preacher, they fell silent and each in his own way prayed for the cooling, life-giving rain that could save them.  An hour passed.  Outside, there was a change in the wind, and over the distant mountains to the west a long, heavy line of clouds began to darken the sky.  The worshippers inside the little church were unaware
of this and continued their silent prayers until, suddenly, their heads raised at the distant sound of thunder.  They held their breath until the sound came again, this time unmistakeable.  The distant crack of heavy, business-like thunder.

They ran out into the churchyard and filled their lungs with the sweetest smell of fresh, cool water falling on dry, parched earth.  And soon the fast moving storm reached them and the rain fell in torrents. They jumped up and down and shouted and hugged one another; they danced in circles and thanked God for the saving rain.  And then, suddenly, they all fell silent.  There was only the sound of the booming thunder and the cascading rain as they all stood and looked at one little seven-year-old girl who was smiling from ear to ear and watching the rain from beneath the shelter of a tiny umbrella.

Out of the entire assembly, she had been the only one, who in her simple, childish faith, had expected the rain to be delivered, and had in her womanly wisdom, provided herself with an umbrella.  The dripping adults looked at each other, and then splashed back into the church for a sober thanksgiving service.

FAITH
I am Eliza R. Snow and I am honored to have been chosen to represent the value of Faith in the Young Women’s organization. As I have pondered my life and the faith that I strived to live true to, I feel there were several times that had my faith failed I would never have accomplished the work that I chose with my Eternal Father to do while in
mortality. A time that you sisters will understand came when I was at an age I was expected to marry and have a family of my own.  Many offers were made but I never felt the peace and the joy that should accompany such an occasion. I wanted very much to marry.  I filled my journals with pages of my romantic longings but still I knew that the right young man had not come into my life. And so I remained single and was about 25 when I met the prophet Joseph Smith.  I was intrigued by the message he gave, his sincerity and the man himself.  Yet, it was 5 years before I joined the Church and moved with my family to Nauvoo.  Being a member of the church at this time was not easy and the persecution was almost unbearable.  Many of the saints fell away and my family was among the weak and could not withstand the dangers and degradation that we were constantly forced to endure.  My family left the church, leaving me alone in Nauvoo and my faith was sourly tested.

It was during this same year that I married the Prophet Joseph Smith as his plural wife.  This was probably my greatest test.  I had waited a lifetime to wed and now I was to be a plural wife.  The thought was most difficult to accept.  But my faith in God and the Prophet carried me through and I followed according to Joseph’s will and the will of my Eternal Father. The prophet was killed soon thereafter and my grief cannot be described.
Joseph had asked Brother Brigham to care for me in his absence and soon I became
his wife and remained a part of his family ever after.

 I founded Relief Society, Primary, and the Young Women’s organization and wrote some of the hymns you enjoy today.  I feel my greatest contribution was in uplifting the spirits of those around me, especially in times of distress.  There is no way for you young women today to understand the physical hardships the women of my time endured.  The cold, the sickness, the frequent deaths, giving birth in the rain and wind of a broken down wagon, or a leaking cabin.  There were no convenience stores to run to for a quick
dinner or other necessities.  So much depended upon the strength of women.  It was a time when women needed sisterhood and I tried to do all I could whenever I could for anyone in need.  As I did so I found happiness and peace for I knew I was never alone and that I was doing the Lord’s will. It is my prayer that you too can develop unshakable faith in the Lord.

Inviting the Savior into Our Lives

One day when I really understood what Jesus Christ had done for me; I invited Him to come into the house of my heart. And, as soon as I invited Him, He came, without any hesitation. And, when He was there, He filled the house with joy. And, I wanted to run and tell all the neighbors about my guest and how wonderful it was to have Him there.

When everything was settled, I said, “I hope you will stay and feel perfectly at home here.”

And, He said, “I’m sure I will, and now since we are new friends; why don’t you show me around. I would like very much to see the library in the House of your heart.”

And so I did.

Now in my house, the LIBRARY is very small and has very thick walls and is filled with everything I have read. Books, magazines, news articles, everything I have seen, like TV shows, movies, plays; all the Sunday School lessons I have listened to, the sermons, the lecturers, they’re all there in the library. And His eyes gazed over all the things that were on the shelf. And, I was a little embarrassed that there was so much trivia there. I wished that more scriptures and church books were really mine and on the shelf. And, I suggested to Him that maybe I could stand a little bit of renovation in this room, and He agreed, that maybe we–together–could add more worthwhile things to the library.

You see, the library is a very important room because it’s the study so-to-speak of the mind–a sort of control room for the whole house. It affects the lighting, the electricity, and everything else in the house.

And, then He said He would like to see the DINING ROOM; and I took Him in. Now in my house, this is a very large room because this is the room of appetites and desires; and it was stacked with all kinds of boxes and things.  And, I told Him I was always hungry, but I never seemed to be satisfied. And He told me that it was because I was eating the wrong things.

He said, “If you would diet as I do, you would never feel hunger; for I live on the word of the Lord, the Father.” And, then He offered me a taste of it; and it was delicious–and oh, the flavor of it. And, I agreed with Him that this alone satisfied, and I knew that I would spend less time in the dining room now that He was a guest in the house.

Next, He asked if He could see my WORKSHOP. Now; I had a workshop; it was down in the basement. And, we went down and looked at the workbench and saw all the talents and the skills that were there. But, I hadn’t really produced much. He looked everything over and said that I had a lot of good equipment, but that I really hadn’t used it to produce much. Oh, there were a few gadgets and trinkets and half finished projects but nothing really of great value.

And I said, “Well, if I wasn’t quite so busy maybe I could do better. I know all the tools are there, but I’m awkward and clumsy, and I really don’t know how to use them.”

So, He said, “Would you like to be able to use the tools in your workshop?” And, I said, “Oh yes, would you help me?” And He said, “I was wondering if you would ask me.”

And, so He stood behind me and put His great powerful hands over mine and guided them, and He showed me how to use the tools in the workshop. And, with His hands directing mine, I marveled at the work of art that came out.

And, I said, “Now that you have helped me, I am going to come into the workshop often, and this will be a fun room to come to. Will you always help me?” And He said, “Yes, if you invite me to, but I never come unless I am invited.”

And, so we left the workshop and the next room we went into was the DRAWING ROOM.

Now, this was a small, quiet, peaceful place in my heart for deep thoughts and meditation, and He seemed pleased with it and comfortable there.  And, so He said,  “Let’s meet here often at least twice a day and we can have long talks together, and you can tell me about all your activities and all your ambitions and all your problems — and we’ll talk it over together everyday.”

I thought that sounded wonderful. So, I made an appointment with Him everyday that I would do that; and I did at first, faithfully. But, then I got too busy, and sometimes I would forget to come in the morning. And, sometimes I would forget to come at night.  And, sometimes days would go by, and we never had a talk at all.

Now, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk to Him, it was just that I was so busy and had a lot to do. Then, one day as I went to leave, I noticed Him standing in the doorway of the drawing room. And, I said, “Have you been waiting there every morning for me?” And, He said, “Yes, we had an appointment, and you haven’t been here for a long time.” And I said, “You’re a guest in my house, and I have neglected you; and I’m sorry.”

I had called on Him when I was in need, to come and help me, and He always came, but that was about the way I used Him.  When things went well, I didn’t really think we needed our chat as well as we did when things were bad. And, so I decided that it had been a very one-sided relationship, and I also realized that He missed me. So, I said, “Maybe there’s something I could do for you; you’ve done so much for me.” And, He said, “Yes, there’s a great deal you could do for me. I was wondering when you would want to help me.”

“I have so many projects and so many things that need to be done. I could use a good friend like you. For one thing, I have no money in the world at all. I only have yours to use. Would you let me use some of yours? And there are people I just cannot see. I could send you and commission you to go and represent me. Would you do that?”

“Yes, of course” I replied.

But then one day I got rebellious and I said, “You demand too much of me. Can’t I have anything to myself? After all, I have things I want to spend my money for, and you’re always there needing something.”

Now that wasn’t a very nice way to treat a person, especially a guest. And, then He said, “Look at the things of my projects, and who benefits from them.” And, then I really was ashamed because everything I did benefited me as well. As others and not Him personally. So I continued His work. And, then one day, He said, “There is a peculiar odor in this house, and it’s coming from that locked closet. And, although you’ve let me go into every room in the house, that one door has always been locked, and you’ve never
let me in.”

Now that made me mad! I had let Him into every room in my house; I ran and did His errands for Him; I let Him use my money, and now He wanted to look in my secret closet. So, I said “I hold the key, and I will not let you in that closet. It’s very small, only about 2 feet by 4 feet. The rest of my house is large enough and is perfectly presentable; so it shouldn’t make any difference.” And He said, “I cannot stay in this house if you do not give me the key to the closet.” And, so He left.

Oh, I was sad. And, great despair and gloom and depression came over me. Because you see, once having had Him as a guest in my home, life was unbearable without him. And, so I went and tearfully pleaded with and I begged Him, “Come back, and I will give you the key to the closet and I will withhold nothing from you–I cannot stand to live without you.”

And, so I gave Him the key, and He opened it. And, then quickly and efficiently He cleansed out those things that were dead and rotten that I wanted to feel were not there and wanted to ignore. He cleaned the whole closet out, fumigated it, painted it, and He made it perfectly acceptable.

Afterwards, I said, “I’m so ashamed that you know what was in my closet.” And, then He said, “Why I see only a house that is totally acceptable to me.” And, then I knew why I loved Him so. And why of all my biggest of brothers only this one could love me enough to clean out my closet. And then, He said, “You know, I’ve cleaned out so many closets, but it’s a strange thing. I can never remember afterwards what was in them.”

After a few moments, I said, “I get so tired of cleaning all the time, I go from one room to the other trying to keep up in the drawing room, in the dining room, the workshop, and in the library, but I always seem to be behind. I was wondering if you could take over the whole house like you did the closet, and you could be the owner, and I would be the guest and sort of helper or servant. And we’ll switch positions. Instead of me calling on you to help me, you can call on me to help you. Is it possible?”

And, He said, “Why yes, that’s why I came the first time you invited me.” So, I ran and got the deed to my house and I signed it over to Him, and I said, “It is yours it belongs to you, and I withhold nothing from you.”

After I gave Him the deed, He immediately started remodeling the house because He was not content to own a cottage. He was the architect, the planner, the builder, and told me eventually we would end up with a magnificent castle. It would take a while to build, but we would build it together. So, He started the remodeling. He was the master of the house, and I was the servant, and I did whatever He bid. And, there were times when clouds came and gathered around the house, clouds of war, hate, and sin. And they beat on the house and demanded entry. But because He was the Lord of the house, it has a firm foundation and none of it was allowed to enter. Inside the house there was warmth, peace, and tranquility regardless of what was outside.

He told me as time went on that He would move my house to another city. He would take care of all the arrangements, and I wouldn’t even have to know the day it took place or when. He said that I would’ be in a city where He had the deed to all the houses and there would be no storms’ or darkness; and I would like the neighbors better. It sounded wonderful, and I looked forward to it with eagerness. And, I looked back so long ago when I first invited Christ to come into the house of my heart as a guest, and thought about the many years it took to have the courage to give Him the deed to the house. And I wondered why I had been so stingy and had reluctantly wanted to turn it over because He showered me with gifts and took care of all the remodeling, and I was always the debtor.

THE PARABLE OF THE BICYCLE
This is paraphrased from an Ensign article, which was an excerpt from “Believing Christ” by Stephen E. Robinson:

Bro. Robinson’s young daughter wanted a bicycle.  He couldn’t afford it, so he put her off by saying that if she saved all of her pennies that one day she could get one.  A few weeks later, he heard a jingling noise and realized that it was his daughter with her piggy bank.  He remembered what he had told her, but of course by the time she had enough pennies she would want to buy a car instead.  She came up to him and said, “Daddy, I have saved all of my pennies, every single one.  Can I get a bike now?”
Well, a promise is a promise after all.  So they went to a store to look at bikes.  When she looked at the price tags, she was devastated. She knew there was no way she could afford a bike.  When she told her father as much, he asked how many she had.  She had $1.47.  “Well, I’ll tell you what. Give me all of your pennies, a kiss, and a hug, and I will make up the difference.”

He goes on to relate that this is our relationship to the Savior in the atonement. While some of us may have $50 and some of us may have 35 cents, if we give him all that we have, he will make up the difference.

 STANDING BY
Author Unknown

At sometime during World War II, a passenger ship set sail from Great Britain headed for port in New York City. The Captain of the ship being afraid of enemy vessels, sought the advice and guidance of the British Admiral. The Admiral calmly assured the Captain that no matter what happens, he should be sure to sail his ship straight ahead. *Do not take any detours * sail the ship straight ahead * continue onward, heading straight towards the intended mark*, he said.

After several days of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, which was undeniably filled with submarines and enemy vessels of all kinds, the Captain spotted an enemy destroyer off his forward bow.

Nervously he grasped the handset and called for assistance. The calm voice replied, *Keep on straight. Do not detour. Just sail the ship straight ahead. Everything will be just fine. Just keep on going straight ahead.*

After a couple more days the ship pulled safely into the great harbor of New York City. Shortly after docking the great British battleship *Man of War* pulled into port behind the passenger vessel. The Captain realized that while he did not see the British Battleship, she had been there, standing by. Standing ready to come to his defense should it prove necessary.

So it is in our lives. God is standing by. We may not always see Him there, but He is. Waiting. Bidding us onward toward the mark*Keep your ship on course. Keep on going * straight ahead.

THERE IS THE LIGHT
Elder John H. Groberg

On one occasion, as a missionary in Tonga, I received word that a missionary was very ill on a somewhat distant island. The weather was threatening, but feeling responsible, and after prayer, we left to investigate the situation. Extra heavy seas slowed our progress, and it was late afternoon before we arrived. The missionary was indeed very ill. Fervent prayer was followed
By administration, during which the impression came very strongly to get him back to hospital on the main island, and to do it now! The weather had deteriorated, but the impression was strong–“Get back now”–and one learns to obey the all-important prompting of the Spirit. There was much concern expressed about the darkness, the storm, and the formidable reef with its extremely narrow opening to the harbor.

Some found reasons to stay behind; but soon eight persons had boarded the boat. No sooner had we made our commitment to the open seas than the intensity of the storm seemed to increase sevenfold. As the sun sank, so did my spirit seem to sink into the darkness of doubt and apprehension. I found my spirit communing with the Spirit of the father of an afflicted child in the
New Testament, as he exclaimed, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
As we rolled and tossed closer and closer to the reef, all eyes searched for the light that marked the opening–the only entry to our home. Where was it?

Then I heard the chilling sound of the waves crashing and chewing against the reef! It was close-too close. Where was the light? Unless we hit the opening exactly we would be smashed against the reef. It seemed that all the elements were bent on our total destruction. Our eyes strained against the blackness, but we could not see the light.

At the height of this panic, I looked at the captain-and there I saw the face of calmness–the ageless face of wisdom and experience–as his eyes penetrated the darkness ahead. Quietly his weather-roughened lips parted, and without moving his fixed gaze and just perceptibly shifting
the wheel, he breathed those life-giving words, “Ko e maama e” (“There is the light.)

I could not see the light, but the captain could see it. And I knew he could see it. Those eyes, long experienced in ocean travel, were not fooled by the madness of the storm nor were they influenced by the pleadings of those of lesser experience to turn to the left or to the right.

Soon we were in the protected harbor. We were, home. Then and only then did WE see through the darkness that one small light–exactly where the captain had said it was. Had we waited until we ourselves could see the light we would have been smashed to pieces. But trusting in those experienced eyes, we lived.

And so the great lesson: There are those who, through years of experience and training, and by virtue of special divine callings, can see further and better and more clearly–and can and will save us in those situations where serious injury or death-both spiritual and physical-would be upon us before we ourselves could see.

I testify that in our day THERE IS A LIVING PROPHET whose eyes see the light that can and will save us and the world. When all about us are sinking in darkness and fear and despair, when destruction seems close and the raging fury of men and demons ensnares us in seemingly insoluble problems, listen as he calmly says “There is the light. This is the way.” I testify that he will guide us safely home IF WE WILL BUT LISTEN AND OBEY. THE STORM IS PERHAPS LIKE THE WORLD, WITH THE MANY FALSE DOCTRINES AND SINKING VALUES. THE BOAT IS OUR TRUTH, AND THE CHURCH. THE LIGHT IS THE GOSPEL TRUTH.