The view from Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville, Virginia. Amazing how the view from above can give you such a larger picture than what you can see from below...
I had the INCREDIBLE opportunity yesterday to attend an amazing event in downtown Richmond called Time Out For Women. It was an all-day conference for LDS women (and any other women who wanted to be uplifted and inspired!) and we heard some wonderfully funny, motivational, and spiritual presenters along with beautiful music as well. This will probably be the first of a few Spiritual Sundays posts that will be based on the things I learned there, because truthfully, it was so hard to choose just ONE topic!
So for today's post I drew from a few different things I heard at the conference. The first was a story told by a member of the "boy band" Jericho Road. He told the story of the birth of his first child. Prior to the baby's birth, doctors discovered the child had holes in his heart. The family prayed that the holes would close so that the child might be healthy. The singer described the scene surrounding the delivery as one straight out of an ER drama, with everyone rushing around. When the baby was finally born, it was discovered that the baby had an overflow of blood inside one chamber of his heart, and that the holes were what were actually saving his life- without them his heart would have stopped. The singer reflected on the fact that the very thing they were praying for God to remove was the very thing that God, in His ultimate wisdom, was using to save the child's life.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the Lord.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9
So many times in our lives we might pray for that which we believe to be good, only to discover that our own view is so limited that there might actually be something greater in store for us.
Another speaker, Brad Wilcox, told a very funny, yet very moving story about how he had to do a lot of soul searching while on his mission. He told of the day he felt he had lost his testimony, and how that night he knelt down on his bed and prayed to the Lord that He might show him a sign. He figured Joseph Smith got to have a vision, why couldn't he? Suddenly his room filled with light- and then the car passed. Joseph Smith got God and angels and he got headlights. Go figure.
Well, he was disappointed, but he was determined to discover what the truth really was. Suddenly, his biggest problem was not trying to stay awake during his study time- it was finding enough study time. He read the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price. He prayed. He read Jesus the Christ, the Miracle of Forgiveness, and other books by prophets and apostles. He prayed some more. Finally, he had a moment when his mission president asked him after an interview if he had any questions. He paused, then said, "President, is there a God?" He said, "Yes." He asked, "Does He know who I am?" The mission president replied, "Yes." "Does He really love me?" "Yes."
Those simple responses suddenly filled Brother Wilcox with the Spirit and he knew it was true. In his presentation, he reflected on his journey. He pointed out that if God had answered his prayer and showed him a sign that night in his room, would he have done all of that studying, pondering, and praying? The Lord knew what he needed, and that night in his room the Lord knew that he needed to not receive an answer. The Lord knew it was a journey Brother Wilcox had to take on his own, to gain more knowledge before he could have that testimony he was so desperately seeking. Once he had completed the journey he was meant to take, the Lord answered His prayer in a sweet, simple, unmistakable way.
Consider this Part I of this post...I realized as I was writing that there was another GREAT presentation from Time Out that will fit right in with this one, but there's too much to write to fit it into this post.
For now, think about that scripture, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts...", and think about how you might seek to better trust in God, and know that He has a better plan for you. More on that next week.... ;-)
To find out more about what I believe as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please visit www.mormon.org.