My personal study this morning focused on purification and santification of ourselves. I came across this story that really opened my heart to asnother way the Lord works with us!
A story from “Ellen,” a mother in San Diego, California, who learned an extraordinary lesson in
the power of personal sanctification.
My patience was wearing thin. First, I lost patience with my daughter, Angela, whom I could not reach no matter what tactic I used; and second, I lost patience with the Lord for not stepping in to help. My husband and I counseled with our bishop, after which I felt even more hopeless. All he did was run down the checklist: Were we praying as a couple, individually, and as a family? Were we fasting for our daughter? Were we holding family home evening, diligent in our callings, reading the scriptures, attending the temple—you get the idea. I felt as though I was in a temple recommend interview. That is not what is needed! I screamed inside. Give me something concrete that I can do to change Angela! My husband and I left the bishop’s office with his parting counsel, “Take everything up a notch. When you shine more brightly, you’ll be able to shine a brighter beam on your daughter.”I was so disappointed, and I told my husband as much. It was Angela who needed changing, not us. I felt as though the Church had let me down; the gospel was merely theory and void of practical application—a set of pat Sunday School answers with no substance.
My patient husband listened to me rant, then presented another view. He had actually felt something when the bishop had talked to us about light. Quoting D&C 93:37, my husband said, “The scriptures say ‘light and truth forsake that evil one.’ If light is what is needed then we should do as the bishop counseled and try to bring more light into our lives.”
After that, I repented of my tantrum and followed my husband’s lead. Over the next few months, we examined every spiritual aspect of our lives and tried to bring our spirituality up a notch: better prayers, more consistent scripture study, more frequent family home evening and temple attendance—anything to infuse more spiritual light into our lives. Although I felt a decided improvement in me, I noticed no improvement in my daughter. Nevertheless, I persevered in increasing the light.
One day when I was reading the scriptures, two visual images came into my mind. First, I imagined that I was holding a spotlight with the beam fixed on my daughter. Every time I prayed, fasted, studied the scriptures, attended the temple, etc., the beam grew more intense. Despite Angela’s ongoing attempts to seek the darkness, she could not escape the light that I was shining on her. Then I saw Angela under a magnifying glass that the Lord was holding. She was also under its light, although the glass was far away from her now. Nevertheless, I realized that the Lord was slowly moving the glass toward her, and in the process, the light was growing more and more concentrated. In time, the light would form a focused beam and become very intense. When that happened, the concentrated light—depending upon her choice—would either burn out all her impurities or burn her up. Clearly, someone skilled and someone who knew Angela very well needed to be in charge of the magnifying glass. I understood that I was not that person. If I were holding the magnifying glass, I might incinerate Angela due to my impatience; but gratefully, the Lord held the glass, and He knew how to focus the light through the lens to purify her. His intention was to save and not to destroy her.
I gained an appreciation for the bishop’s counsel. The gospel was truly a practical remedy for spiritual problems. If I simply focused on filling myself with light—Jesus said we are the light of the world—then I would gain the ability to cast a continual, bright beam on my daughter, which would illuminate her while the Lord worked the magnifying glass to concentrate the light. The Lord and I were partners in the light!
Angela has not totally forsaken her wayward ways, but my husband and I have noticed marked improvement in her. Recently she was involved in a serious accident that could have taken her life. Miraculously, she walked away unscathed, knowing that God had saved her and given her a second chance. There was no other explanation. She has given up alcohol and has begun to pray. Spiritual ideas nag at her constantly, as though she is under a persistent beam of light. She can’t get those thoughts out of her mind. Now, when she brings them up of her own free will, we have opportunities to talk about the gospel. My husband I and know that Angela will return; it is just a matter of time. But in the meantime, we continue to try and bring more light into our lives. Author’s Note
This article was adapted from Larry Burkdall's book, Rescuing Wayward children.
Are we all not wayward children, whom the Lord is working to rescue???????