When I began seeking the fulfillment of D&C 93:1 in my life, I inadvertently enrolled in the school of hard knocks. I had to learn some lessons — often painful lessons — to teach me to trust in the Lord.
Here are some of the lessons I learned:
Do not view the path to obtaining such a blessing as easy, or something which can be done casually.
You may be tempted to disregard, minimize or forget many of the concepts and teachings that will move you forward in a significant way. Even if you put them to the test, you may stumble and fall every now and then. I have, and I still do.
My advice: Don’t look down. Keep looking up. As you continue, you will be strengthening and solidifying your spiritual muscles. Over time, incrementally, you’ll feel stronger. You’ll grow in your confidence of the being whose presence you will feel more often and his familiar, gentle voice that you will hear more clearly. As one wise friend once told me, “When you’re on this path, you should know two things: First, you are as of the dust of the earth. You are weak and sinful. Second, despite those facts, you continue to seek the Lord’s face with a perfect brightness of hope.”
Along these same lines, I think it’s important to remember that each person’s path back to the Lord is individualized, customized and personalized. Like snowflakes, no two paths are exactly alike.
I have a friend who is deeply, deeply interested in others’ personal, sacred experiences with the Lord. While I suppose that learning from their accounts may have some value, the greater value lies in pursuing your own path. Sure, you may experience similar signs (such as D&C 93:1) on your path. However, it will (more likely than not) differ from another’s.
“Yea, verily I say, let all these take their journey unto one place, in their several courses, and one man shall not build upon another’s foundation, neither journey in another’s track.” (D&C 52:33)
Do not see such an event as a “goal” or another “worthy objective” to obtain, as if it was something to be listed on a resume or a bucket list.
To illustrate: Almost seven years (to the week) ago, I was laid off my job. I was really distraught, and didn’t know what I would do. One of my first inclinations was to go get a priesthood blessing from a good friend. In the blessing, I was told that I could go out and get a job, and that I would obtain one. However, if I received the Lord’s counsel and did certain things with respect to my spiritual development, I would be blessed with a job via a friend — a job that was beyond my expectations, and would receive many blessings from it.
I chose to receive the Lord’s invitation, and do the things He was asking of me while I searched for a new job. Sure enough, six weeks later, I was offered a job through a friend of a friend — a job which continues to bless me to this day.
As mortals, we are conditioned from an early age to obtain things. When I picture the word obtain, I see peoples’ hands extending in a grabbing position, palms down.
Being blessed with a testimony of Christ in the flesh is not something we obtain, grab or take, but instead, we receive, allow and exhibit patience.
I think we would do better to view life as a process of receiving (not obtaining), with hands extended and palms up, being grateful for all that the Lord gives to us, on His timetable. Obtaining seems selfish; receiving seems patient and grateful. I hope that makes sense.
Do not view simply “asking” for such a blessing as a prime prerequisite. While speaking of D&C 93:1, Pres. Spencer W. Kimball once stated,
“…no man will ever see God by just wishing it, wanting it, asking for it — nobody with just ordinary interest or curiosity. The Lord doesn’t go around just showing Himself — like you go to a show and see something you pay for. The Lord doesn’t. But every soul may see Him and know that He is, if that soul will do the things the Lord will require of him.” (Elder Spencer W. Kimball, “See His Face”, Santa Monica Stake fireside on November 18, 1973; http://toadland.net/1er/way/Kimball_face.pdf)
In my opinion, the Lord knows full well what the desires of your heart are. It’s no surprise, it’s not news to Him that you wish to have an audience with Him. Instead, He wants you to seek Him, and in so doing, your actions will speak louder than words; they’ll be your calling card.
You have no guarantee that you’ll have an audience with the Savior in the next week, month, year or decade.
But I have no doubt that, by doing what the Lord has invited you to do, He will live up to every promise He’s made you…and then some (rarely, if ever, have I seen the Lord not exceed His promises to me).
In His due time, and at a time when you least expect it, He may very well appear to you, call you by name, embrace you, minister to you and bless you as you wash His feet with your tears and develop an unshakable testimony of Him, despite anything and everything the world and Satan can and will throw at you.
What about you?
What lessons have you learned on this path? I’d love to read your advice.