Monday, February 16, 2009

Spiritual Thoughts

I had a really great day at church last Sunday. I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you all.

My good friend Katie Walker gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting on the Saviour's ministry and one of the stories that she told was of Mary and Martha. You know the story- Martha is encumbered about with serving the Lord while Mary sits and listens at Jesus' feet. Martha get frustrated and asks the Lord, "Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me." and the Lord tells her, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her" (Luke 10: 40-42). She then shared a story that she remembered from one Relief Society lesson. She was sitting in class and the lesson had taken a turn for the worse- namely male bashing. One sister innocently commented, "It doesn't matter how many times I tell my husband to pick up his socks he never does! And I ask him and ask him and I always end up doing it." and a woman, who had been recently widowed and was sitting in front of Katie, quietly turned to the sister behind her and said, "I wish I could still pick up my husband's socks."

This story was very powerful and Katie used it to make the point that we should always be looking for the better part. Even if you didn't have time to get the house clean for some friends coming over, at least you are sharing a meal and fun with some friends; so what if your husband's weak spot is picking up his socks, or in my case, I've recently developed a tendency to leave open my dresser drawers (pobre Casey when he bumps one!)- at least you have an eternal companion and best friend. Then Katie shared this inspirational poem:

by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

© 1980 Russell Kelfer. All rights reserved.

There is a purpose in having trials- it is an opportunity to grow closer to the Lord. He weeps with us through those trials because he loves us and doesn't want us to have pain, but the pain is a necessary part of life- trials do have purpose.

The other thought I had came during the Relief Society Lesson. The teacher asked us how we could combat our own apostasy and the standard church answers were given; read scriptures, pray, go to church and it all of a sudden struck me why we go to church. This may seem obvious to most of you but thinking about it in a metaphor somehow made it more meaningful to me. It's kind of like going to a gym. You get on a work out routine but after doing that routine for awhile your muscles will eventually plateau (they will get used to the exercise routine) and you won't continue to progress. It is at that point that you need to go to a personal trainer who has the experience, the knowledge and the research to help you to further your development and move you onto the next step. Speakers and church leaders are like our personal trainers. I know most first-time teachers or Sacrament Meeting speakers would blush and oppose such a comparison, but they have done the research and put in the time to qualify themselves as our spiritual personal trainers for the time that they teach us. They are the source from which we can get the ideas and help we need to continue our spiritual progression. They give us tips on how to better study the scriptures, insights to talks and scriptures that we never would have thought of and they can strengthen our testimonies by sharing theirs. They are valuable and irreplacable parts in our continued spiritual growth. That is why we are instructed to attend our meetings; to be spiritually trained so that we can be stronger warriors of God.

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