Our lesson in Relief Society today was the fourth chapter in the teachings of Lorenzo Snow about the Holy Ghost. At one point in the lesson, I felt I should comment. But, as usually happens, I never adequately express what I am thinking or feeling and inevitably say something that doesn't make sense. So here is my attempt to perhaps clarify my thoughts.
A few weeks ago, I bawled my way through Chris Williams' book Let it Go. The memoir explores Chris's journey of faith and forgiveness after a drunk driver caused an accident that took the life of his wife, two of his children, and his unborn child. There is so much I learned about forgiveness that must be saved for another post.
But a tiny lesson I learned is that in one moment, Chris expressed how he felt like he needed to feel the presence of his wife, Michelle. He needed to feel her there from the other side, helping him, strengthening him, giving him any sense of the eternal. But he couldn't feel it. Instead he felt the power of the heavens, who gently helped him realize that he needed to rely on God. He needed to focus and realize that God is God and He rules in the heavens. He is not the arm of flesh. He is the Supreme Being, our Eternal Father.
I wasn't sure I quite understood that principle, but was thankfully given the opportunity a few days later.
I tend to think of myself of somewhat of a busybody. I love to know what is going on in everyone's life so I can be of help. I love to run to people's need. I seek to listen to the Spirit and help people out when prompted. I sometimes hear of someone who was sick or had a hard day or was going through a rough time or lost a loved one. And when I hear of these things after the fact, after they have passed through the trial, I sometimes ask my Father why He didn't let me know so I could help that person and let them feel of His love. I know that I can't be all things to all people, nor should I ever be. But I really just want people to know that God loves them and He is watching out for them. So why doesn't he let me help some people when I could have helped? Well, there are a few reasons perhaps. One could be that I wasn't listening, and that does happen. Another is that I may not have been available and therefore was not called on. Another is that perhaps someone else needed the opportunity to serve to help them grow in the gospel of service. But another, perhaps oft unnoticed reason by me, is that sometimes our Father just needs His children to realize that He is the Father. He is the one who is there.
A few weeks ago, I was having a terrible time. I was stressed about work and my classes and dating and all the many, many things that I was supposedly "failing" at. I was stressed that I was doing too much, while being stressed that I was doing too little. I was stressed about not being as nice to my roommates as I should have been. I was upset about family relationships and even down to tiny things like people not accepting my outreach in missionary efforts or not being able to find the right information in family history. I was stressed about those I visit teach who are not active. I was stressed that even though I go to the temple every week, I'm not as attentive as I should be. I was stressed about fulfilling my service calling and making sure the Area Sports newsletter was out on time. Piling, piling, piling everything on. So many things that were just causing me to feel down on myself.
I came home from work and curled up in a ball, trying not to think about things. And then I gradually rolled out of bed and on to my knees for the next hour. I soon had to get up, go to our ward FHE and then go to a study group and I felt I would be ok. But after I got home and got ready for bed, I fell to my knees again. Pleading, praying, wishing, hoping for someone to help me, to get me out of this darkness.
And no one came. No one on earth, at least. In that moment, I realized what Chris Williams meant. In that moment, I needed to rely on my Father. I needed to be told that He is God. That He is in charge. That He it is who rules and reigns in the heavens above. That He is the one who has a plan, and He has a plan for me. He has a plan for me.
And then I felt the reminder that there are always "Comforting Angels" around me, as depicted in this Annie Henrie painting which hangs just above my bed.
And then the words to a favorite song came rushing in to my head. They were like words spoken directly from the Father. "And you answer, 'My child, I love you, and as long as you're seeking my face, you'll walk in the power of my daily sufficient grace'" ("Grace" by Laura Story).
That was the comfort of the Holy Ghost. That was the strength from the heavens that I needed. Sure, there are times in our lives when we need others to come to us and succor us. To mourn with us. To comfort us. There are times when we truly need to be served by our fellowmen. There are times when someone needs to text us, or call us, or message us, or drop by to visit just at the perfect time, to help remind us that God is watching out for us. And when we are the ones who are called on to serve in those moments, we can be the hands of heaven on earth, but more often, I think it is because we, ourselves, need to learn empathy, compassion, comfort and care.
But sometimes there are times when I, particularly, need to just be reminded that God is in His heavens. He is the one I can always rely on. He is the one I can turn to. And the grace and mercy of His Son, my Savior, are what I truly need because "He watching over Israel, slumbers not, nor sleeps."
I am grateful that no one else showed up that night. I'm grateful no one called or texted or tried to stop by, even though I fiercely wanted it. Why? Because that hours-long conversation with my Father humbled me and reminded me that as long as I'm seeking His face, I will walk in the power of His daily sufficient grace. He is there. Always there.