This has been a week of sacrifice and a week of miracles. Think for a moment about the words of the Hymn "Praise to the Man," especially where it says "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven." Think of the early Saints, the hardships they faced, the challenges they overcame, and the difficulties they encountered that none of us could ever have imagined to have lived. Then, watch the movie "17 Miracles" and look at the miracles they received. Read the accounts of the Pioneers and the enormous, miraculous blessings they received from God. Then look at your own life. How much have you sacrificed to be able to serve the Lord? How many miracles have you received lately?
I'll give you an example. This week, we had a lot of appointments fall through. For two days straight, we got caught contacting all afternoon. We knocked so many doors and not one opened to let us in. If they wanted to let us in, it was either a bad moment, or there wasn't a man in the house (if there's no man inside, we can't enter the home), or another invented excuse.
But it's worth it.
On Sundays, we've been struggling to get investigators to church. We kept working hard during the week, and prayed that we might be able to have the 8 investigators in church that we are expected to have every week. We've consistently been having one or two in church. This past Sunday, Sacrament Meeting started, and there were two, as far as I could see. Later on, I looked around from my seat at the piano, and I saw two or three more who had come in. Then, when they opened the door after the Sacrament, I looked, and there was a miracle waiting outside in the hallway. The Montejo family is an interesting family. The mom is a member, the husband no, and they are letting the kids decide which religion they want: Catholic, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The dad is pretty fixed in his religion, but sometimes he surprises them. This Sunday he said to the family "Wake up, we're going to mass." They all got ready, they got in the car, and everyone thought that they were going to the Catholic church, but Dad surprised them when he pulled up and parked in the Chapel parking lot, and they all walked into sacrament meeting! It was a miracle! The mom, dad, two sons, and the girl that lives with them and does housework all came to church! And it was especially cool because usually when they go to church, they go to the other ward, even though they live in our ward boundaries. I think the kids like the other primary teacher better or something like that.
In other words, miracles exist.
They don't come out of nowhere, they come after we sacrifice and do all we can, keep the commandments, and keep trying hard to do what we're supposed to do, the Lord will do the rest. We don't know when, where, or how the miracle will come, but if we pray for miracles, we will have miracles.
So when life seems hard, it's not because the Lord doesn't love you, it's because he does. He's trying to teach you something, and to prepare you to have the faith to receive a miracle.
So instead of praying for a trial to be over, it may be wise to pray that the Father help you to learn what you need to learn, and develop the faith you need to develop to be able to receive a miracle, because miracles don't come until after we have faith (See Moroni 7, The Book of Mormon).
The words of the hymn are true:
"Do not weary by the way,
whatever be thy lot.
There awaits a brighter day to all,
to all who weary not."
("If the way be full of trial, weary not," see October 2012 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session, closing hymn)
I testify that these things are true. That Jesus Christ "lives and loves us to the end," as does his Father. That this is his Church, his Work, and his Glory, and that we are all privileged to be a part of it. Shall we not go on in so great a cause?
Have a great week.
Keep reading your scriptures,
and never let anyone tell you that "You can't."