The Lord looketh on the heart

In a recent stake conference, a counselor in the mission presidency gave a powerful talk about looking on the heart, and not someone’s outward appearance.

As a member of the mission presidency, he is often called on to do follow-up interviews before someone is baptized. When he walked into the room for the interview, he saw a young man covered in tattoos and body piercings.

Gazing upon this young man, he said a silent prayer in his heart, “Lord, help me to see in him  what thou seest in Him.”

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I will not leave you comfortless

One of my favorite stories is when President Monson felt impressed one General Conference to deviate from his prepared remarks and speak directly to a little girl seated in the north balcony of the Tabernacle.

During a particularly difficult and painful personal trial, I sought my Heavenly Father in prayer, asking Him for a special message during an upcoming Stake Conference session. I spent a great deal of time on my knees, pleading for a personal message and comfort from the heavy burdens of this trial.

As I drove to the Stake Center, I had a prayer in my heart, asking once again to receive the blessing this little girl had received.

I had volunteered to serve as an usher during the morning session of the conference, so I was seated close to the doors in the back of the chapel. It must have been one of the first speakers–a member of the Stake Presidency, I think–who started his talk with the message I had prayed for.

I do not recall the exact words he spoke, but I remember him saying that he felt impressed that several had come seeking answers to prayers. He said that he felt impressed to let us know that our Heavenly Father was aware of our struggles and that he would bless us with peace and comfort.

As the counselor spoke these words, I had to leave the chapel as I was overcome with emotion. I entered one of the open offices, fell to my knees, and wept. I felt a tremendous sense of gratitude that my prayer had been answered. As I was on my knees, I offered a prayer of thanks to my Heavenly Father for the reassurance that He loved me and that I was not left without comfort.

In a few short days, I will leave my family to start a new job in Connecticut. My wife has felt a great deal of anxiety about the impending move and has prayed  seeking for comfort and answers to her prayers. During both of Saturday’s sessions, she heard talks that were direct answers to her prayers.

I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who hears and answers prayers. He will not leave us comfortless (John 14:8).

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The voice of God

When I first saw the video of the now homeless and former radio announcer, Ted Williams, I was struck by his self-described “God Given Gift of Voice.”

Some have described his rich baritone voice as “the voice of God.” Having never personally heard God speak aloud, I cannot say for certain if this is indeed true.

What rings true for me, however, is how his story has given God a voice in a world that often shuts him out in the name of political correctness. Helping other people…isn’t that part of His message?

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

Mosiah 2: 17

On my way home from work, I often pass people like Ted Williams…standing on the street corner…begging for work or food. These people do not possess Williams’ rich baritone voice. But they do possess the same basic need for food and shelter.

The scriptures–the word of God–speak plainly to us on how we should treat the poor among us. You have perhaps heard the angelic voice of Ted Williams…but will you listen to the voice of God?

Hold on, the light will come

Everyone has probably experienced a moment of despair or doubt; perhaps even a crisis of faith.

For some a testimony of the gospel comes as naturally as walking. Others, however, seem to struggle with the gospel, and a testimony does not come without a great deal of effort.

I fit into the former category, but I have experienced my own doubts and crisis of faith.

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