Since the first great step to spiritual greatness is learning to hear the voice of revelation, I invite you to leave comments on your experiences with learning this principle. I know many of you have taken the voice of Christ as your guide. It is not a difficult concept, but it can be a very challenging process. It takes both obedience and failure to learn to listen. I would like to hear a few of your stories. It comes to me that your testimonies, or your comments at this time would serve as a pillar of strength to the rest of us in the Un-Blogosphere. If you are comfortable doing so, share with us both your successes and your learning process.
One of the hardest things to understand about revelation is that in the beginning it is rarely a voice. There are rarely words. Most often it comes as ideas, thoughts or impressions. To the spiritual pilgrim, these things all sound alike. We learn to judge these things initially less by their sound than by their outcome. We “search diligently in the Light of Christ” for those things that are good. After a while, probably a long while of sorting through and identifying the voice of truth, we find it has a flavor, a spiritual essence, which becomes delicious and welcome. When we begin to hear and consistently obey, the voice changes, it becomes stronger, more informative, and begins to use words, visual images, complete sentences or paragraphs of truth come to us.
Many years ago, just after I had written FTL, I was invited to speak at a fireside in a home. The gathering was mostly friends of my younger sister. We met in this beautiful new home, and with the happy assistance of the Spirit, we began to explore this voice of revelation that we all have.
I was explaining similar principles to this group when this one sister raised her hand. She said, “Last fall I put my kids to bed and retired to my own bed to read. I like to read with a scented candle burning by my bed, and have done this for most of my life.” She stopped to look at her hands a moment.
“That night, I had a feeling that I should not light the candle. I couldn’t figure out why. I always close my door when it is lit, and I never forget to blow it out before going to sleep. The feeling came again, stronger, but I lit it anyway. The urge came to me to blow it back out. I didn’t, but began to read. For some reason my reading didn’t last long, and I fell to sleep with the candle still burning.
“Sometime during the night, my two-year-old came into the room, probably to ask for a drink of water or something. He saw the candle, and took it back to his own room. On the way, he dropped the candle when the hot wax touched his fingers, and ran to his room. The flame spread to the carpet, then the walls, and ultimately burned our home down.”
She began to weep. “Do you mean to tell me that it was Jesus Christ who was telling me to not light the candle that one night? Are you telling me that it wasn’t my two-year-old who burned down our home, that I did it?” She was incredulous, but she wanted to understand.
I asked her a few questions. “Was what the Spirit told you that night right? Was it the truth?”
“Was it good?” I asked.
“It would have been if I had listened.”
“Did it bring you closer to Christ?” I asked her.
“Our family has rejoiced and rejoiced that none of us were lost in the fire. We have considered it a tender mercy that we all survived, even our kitten survived. It has definitely brought us closer to Christ,” she indicated softly.
I read from Moroni 7, that anything that is good, that teaches us to love and serve one another, and that brings us closer to Christ, is inspired of God.
She seemed accepting but startled that God would use such dramatic and potential lethal means to teach her this lesson.
I felt the Holy Spirit move in my heart, and replied this way, “I am very certain that prior to that night, Jesus Christ had spoken to you many times and in many ways, and that you would have eventually learned this lesson, though probably not nearly as dramatically. I don’t believe Jesus Christ burned your house down to teach you this principle. I think your son came into your room with the randomness and thoughtlessness of children, saw the fire and decided to play with it contrary to his training. But, knowing that your two-year-old’s agency would result in your home burning down, Jesus Christ warned you again and again, even though He knew you wouldn’t obey.”
“But why!?” she demanded through her tears.
“To turn this most difficult event into the most powerful lesson you will ever learn.”
“Do you really think that learning to listen to the Holy Spirit is that important?” she demanded.
“It appears for you, at that time in your life, that learning this lesson was second only to sparing your lives.”
She wiped away her tears. “It is a lesson I will not need to be taught twice.”