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Monday, October 19, 2015

Healing Hearts That are Failing

In the Doctrine and Covenants 45 & 88 it says in the last days "the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them."

Commotion, unrest, fear, turmoil.... How many hearts will fail during the days we live in???  When I read scriptures like this, I desire to encourage, to help heal the failing hearts of those around me.  A couple of weeks ago I was fasting for a family who lives next to me.  They are an unmarried blended family. Living in the "tight quarters" that we do, it's hard to avoid hearing the constant turmoil in their home.  None of them are active in the church.  The daughter of the mother used to come but has since given up as well.

About a week and a half ago I sat on the steps of our porch and visited with the mother of the family.  I listened to her tell me about the stresses and difficulties she faced on a day-to-day basis.  The entire time she was telling me about the "commotion" in her life I wanted so badly to somehow take the experiences I have had with prayer, with the scriptures, with the words of the living prophets, and infuse them into her so she could instinctively know where to find peace and rest from such needless pain.
She said, to me, "Alicia I can't come to church because I'm living in sin."
I immediately responded, "Aren't we all? If we waited to go only when we were completely free from making any mistakes or having any sin in our hearts then no one would be able to go."
I had a small window of opportunity to bear testimony to her of our Father in Heaven's infinite love and I told her of President Uchdorft's talk from this last conference to just "start where you are."

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak in church very briefly about the hymn, "Where Can I Turn for Peace" I had invited my neighbor friend to come and hear my testimony and I was hopeful that she would because the night before she confirmed a couple of times.  When I stood, I looked for her in the congregation but I didn't see her.  I was disappointed.  I wanted to direct my words to her. If only she would turn.  I was grateful for the number of people who had come to church that day.

I had been thinking of a favorite hymn of mine as a child, "Did You Think to Pray?" and for a brief moment I imagined myself again as a little girl sitting in church with a family who went every Sunday.  No one knew of the turmoil and pain that went on under our roof, (maybe our bishop but no body else.)  I thought, "If there are families like the one from my childhood sitting in this congregation right now then there is certainly a great number of people who are suffering needlessly in the church as well."  I remember a former bishop of ours used to call the constant visits in his office, "The Parade of Pain."

The hearts of men and women need not fail if they would only turn.  In the Book of Numbers, chapter 21, the children of Israel were bitten by serpents. Many of the people were dying but God provided an escape from the pain, suffering, and death.  He commanded Moses to raise a serpent on his staff and tell the people if they would just look at the raised serpent, they would be healed.  How can we look? How do we turn?  I believe it is through the simple process of faith and repentance, sincere prayer, daily seeking God's word (modern and ancient), and weekly partaking of Christ's sacrament.  It's the primary answer, just as simple as "look."

The children of Israel were healed by looking to Christ, they defeated the Amorites and the people of Bashan who fought against them. I testify that as we turn and look to Christ as the children of Israel did, our hearts will not fail us in these last days, even though the whole world will be in commotion.

Where can we turn for peace?  Nowhere else but to God, to our Father in Heaven and His son, Jesus Christ - "He only ONE."


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