Sunday, November 30, 2014

Stories/Lessons I Want to Remember from Another Great Book

I recently finished Drawing Closer to God by Henry B. Eyring (which is a collection of several discourses he has given.).  I was very touched by quite a few things he said, particularly regarding service.   But this story about his father especially impresses me.  His dad was abt 80 and had bone cancer which caused him to be in terrible pain.  But he signed up for a welfare assignment to pull weeds among onions.  He spent most of the day and it was agonizing for him, according to those that served with him.  But he smiled and laughed.  (I am already impressed that he signed up, went and did the work without complaining!   But it goes on.). At the end of the day, someone told him he was pulling the wrong weeds.  Those weeds had been sprayed and were going to die already.  He thought this was hilarious...he'd spent all day pulling weeds that had been sprayed.   President Eyring asked him how he could laugh at this.  Here is his response and President Eyring's lesson:


"He said something to me that I will never forget, and I hope you won’t. He said, “Hal, I wasn’t there for the weeds.”
"Now, you’ll be in an onion patch much of your life. So will I. It will be hard to see the powers of heaven magnifying us or our efforts. It may even be hard to see our work being of any value at all. And sometimes our work won’t go well.
But you didn’t come for the weeds. You came for the Savior. And if you pray, and if you choose to be clean, and if you choose to follow God’s servants, you will be able to work and wait long enough to bring down the powers of heaven."  (If you want to read the whole story, it is found in this BYU speech:  
 http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=775.) 
Wow!  It is easy for me to get discouraged when it seems my service isn't making a difference, and I think I would have been very frustrated if I had been President Eyring's father...perhaps even angry...but what an amazing perspective.   I guess this is an example of Matt 25:40, although it isn't what we typically think of...but welfare projects certainly go to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. " 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have adone it unto one of the bleast of these my cbrethren, ye have done it unto me."  So he wasn't weeding onions, he was serving the Savior...and that is never actually too hard (although sometimes it seems to be.)

Another related story about his father.  Shared in President Eyring's words (http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=824)

" Let me illustrate for you what I know about the questions that matter and how they are answered by telling you about the last conversations I had with my father.

He was suffering through the end of a long struggle with bone cancer. He still weighed enough and was in such pain that it was hard work to move him from a chair to his bed. Others far more heroic than I spent the months and the days caring for him. But I took some turns on the midnight to dawn shift.

The effects of disease had removed the powers of reason he’d used to make a mark that is still visible in science. He seemed to me almost like a child as we talked through the night. Most of his memories were of riding across the range together with his father in Old Mexico. But sometimes even those happy pictures could not crowd from his mind the terrible pain.
One night when I was not with him and the pain seemed more than he could bear, he somehow got out of bed and on his knees beside it—I know not how. He pled with God to know why he was suffering so. And the next morning he said, with quiet firmness, “I know why now. God needs brave sons.”

Now, when someone tells you the questions that matter yield only to some rational analysis, remember that the stunning achievements of reason over the past three hundred years have sprung from what is called the “scientific method.” I hope you’ll also remember, as I always will, the scientist Henry Eyring on his knees, when the questions that really mattered yielded to the method for finding truth he’d learned as a little boy at his mother’s knee in Old Mexico. This was long before he took the train to Tucson, and Berkeley, and Madison, and then on to Berlin and Princeton to use the scientific method to create theories that changed the scientific world. What he learned on his knees brought him peace and changed my life."

I hope that line will remain with me.   God needs brave sons.  (And I would definitely add daughters!)

I love the comfort/reminder offered in D&C 121:7-9:
" 7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;   8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.  9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands."

And also D&C 122:5-7, although I will just quote verse 7 here:  " 7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."  

He needs us to be strong and faithful and if we are, great blessings, incredible blessings, are promised. 

Mosiah 5: 7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.

I was very touched by these two stories.  I hope to develop that kind of faith and that type of attitude in regards to the trials I face and will face.