The youth in our ward just returned from a pioneer trek at Martin's Cove and Rocky Ridge. In church, some of the youth spoke about the adventure. There were a couple of talks that were outstanding.
One of the speakers told a story of a pioneer who was crossing the plains in the winter and had no shoes. His feet were obviously in very bad shape and should have been amputated but he knew that if the rescue team coming for them, would bring him a pair of shoes, he would be alright and his feet would be spared from amputation. I'm sure this young man offered fervent and exhaustive prayer to be gifted a pair of shoes for the remaining journey.
The rescue team did arrive but there was not a pair of shoes for him.
Instead of shoes...
He was given a blessing of healing. His feet were miraculously better the next day. Completely healed and he walked the remaining leg of the journey...shoeless...in the winter...on a rocky ridge of ice and snow.
The story wasn't expounded upon but I like to think that because this man was a pioneer, he had immense faith. He was mortal too. I'm sure that for a moment, he felt shortchanged by the Lord when all he wanted was a pair of shoes. Was that really too much to ask? He wasn't asking for a free ride to Zion. He wasn't asking for the trial to be over. He wasn't asking for the Pony Express to save him...he just wanted a pair of shoes. He just wanted to keep his feet. A simple request but what he got instead was a miracle.
There is no hierarchy to the problems we suffer or in God's ability to bless us, even with miracles.
It made me think how often I have prayed for...'just a pair of shoes'. A simple request but the pair of shoes never come. In some cases, I am still waiting on that prayer. In many other cases, the pair of shoes came in the form of something much better, more profound, the very thing I needed but for whatever reason, didn't think to ask for.
I'm so good at living far below my privileges when it comes to the blessings in store for me. I think many of us are good at being underprivileged. This lesson is a timely one for our family.
I've written before about our plethora of backwards blessings...We face so many trials and the blessings are there but they are hidden behind...yet another trial. I get a bonus at work but the car breaks down and costs the exact amount of the bonus...A blessing but a trial at the same time. It's hard to see these sorts of blessings.
It's hard to teach my kids or convince them that the blessings are there. We have to be able to see with our spiritual eyes, even more so than our physical eyes. As life happens to this family, blow by blow...or so it feels, my challenge as the matriarch and loving mother who wants more than anything to have my kids for eternity...must set the example to see life, not blow by blow but blessing by blessing.
That is going to be hard because really, we are all feeling battle bruised and weary. I have let my confidence in God slip. All I can see, all I want are the shoes that in my narrow and short sighted view will fix everything! I know deep down, that I am not going to get those shoes...I am going to get something instead of shoes.
My final thoughts on this Sabbath is a quote from Jeffrey R. Holland
"We must feel confident in God's hands. This may be one of the Saviour's commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter Day Saints, almost universally disobeyed, and yet, I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord's merciful heart? I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Saviour when he finds that his people do not feel confident in His care or secure in His hands."
For this week, I'm going to look for something more than just 'shoes' and I am going to strive to feel confident in the hands of God who I know, gives good gifts to his children.