Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We Can Do ALL Things Through Christ

This is my last post of those inspired by the ward conference to end all ward conferences. The second speaker moved me deeply...and not just because we're friends, either. I had always respected this man, but after years of fairly consistent interaction at various levels, I saw something in him that I had never seen before, not even when he was my bishop. Isn't it amazing how people can still surprise us after we've known them a long time? I left the meeting completely in awe of his spiritual resilience and dedication to the gospel.

This good man is a counselor in our stake presidency, and his talk was a strong reminder that the Lord will see us through whatever comes if we are willing to exercise our faith, reach out in humility, and accept his help. The example he gave, taken from his own life, nearly knocked me off my seat. (I already knew his family well when these events happened, so I recognized some of the circumstances, but I had been completely unaware of additional challenges that had occurred simultaneously.) Perhaps this is because he handled his struggles with such grace. And he clearly relied on grace, the Lord's grace, to get through them.

It's important to note that this essentially private man isn't big on self-disclosure, which is partly why his talk affected me as it did. I was touched that he was willing to share personal details and feelings so generously in order to help us understand his message. After testifying of our ability to withstand adversity by relying upon our Heavenly Father, he quietly related his experience of going through an extremely difficult period in his life several years ago, including betrayal by a business partner, the agonizing final months of his mother's slow decline from Altzheimer's disease, his father's heart attack brought on by the strain of caring for an invalid wife, the loss of a beloved nephew in a police shooting, a cancer diagnosis for his youngest daughter and more. All of these things occurred within the space of a month or two, and needless to say, it was a time of unparalleled struggle and grief for him. The culminating event, incredibly, was his receipt (while in the hospital attending to his daughter) of that phone call no one particularly longs to get, the one that set the wheels in motion for him to be at our meeting that day as a speaker. Yes, during the worst time of trial in his life, this faithful man was called to be in the stake presidency!

Can you imagine what fortitude it took to heed the Lord's call? A daughter just beginning cancer treatment. Parents struggling for survival and needing support. Family and extended family grieving for a loved one shot in the line of duty. Your own mind and finances reeling from the hurtful choices of a former partner and friend. I can almost feel the weight of it, and I'm not sure I could come up with that amount of strength...or willingness

It all comes down to willingness, doesn't it? Every time. If we are willing to place ourselves in the Lord's hands through every phase of our journey, entrusting ourselves to His care, we will prevail. 

That's it. Pure and not so simple. 

No setback will stop us. No trial will topple us. 

If we are willing.

And that's why I'm working on humility. Again.

Did you know that St. Patrick was carried off into captivity by Irish marauders at the age of 16 and sold into slavery? It was during his six years as a slave that he prayed many times a day, placing himself and his safety in God's hands. Here is an excerpt from his "Confessio":  "and His fear increased in me more and more, and the faith grew in me, and the spirit was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that whilst in the woods and on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer and felt no hurt...whether there was snow or ice or rain; nor was there any slothfulness in me...because the spirit was then fervent within me." 

You know what? He prevailed.

(And not due to of the luck o' the Irish, either...)   

And the top o' the mornin' to ye, as well.



Natalie said...

Ok, this could be my new favorite. I really needed to read this today.

"It all comes down to willingness, doesn't it? Every time. If we are willing to place ourselves in the Lord's hands through every phase of our journey, entrusting ourselves to His care, we will prevail. That's it. Pure and not so simple. No setback will stop us. No trial will topple us.
If we are willing. And that's why I'm working on humility. Again."

I have been feeling increasingly uneasy with many things happening in our government. I think about it all the time. I have to remember that I can only do so much, and from there just be willing to put myself in the Lord's hands and know we will prevail. Of course, this post holds true with every thing we face, but today I was feeling mostly fearful for our nation. Thanks for reminding me to take a step back, breathe, and keep plugging along!

Lisa Loo said...

I loved this post Sue! I think it is my new favorite! So pertinent to my current life---manna for my heart. THanx for sharing--and I even feel smarter--I did not know that about St Pat.

em said...

look at that st. patty's day history!!! i'm half irish and never knew;-) imagine that! my great grandparents immigrated from ireland. so fun to think about them today.

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