I must apologize that I have not yet completed a full length post about "Why I decided to serve." Quite frankly it's not THAT exciting of a story, and I'm not sure which details to leave out. YA know like TMI. So I'm still working on that and it will be up shortly. As in the next couple of weeks. There's just so many side points I want to go into depth on but I promise to stay majority on topic.
I guess it's supposed to get pretty cold this week. Like not even go above freezing. So that will be fun. W. & Y. took us to a Japanese Steakhouse where they cooked food in front of you. That was entertaining as well. It was a fun week. Lots of new stories and things. I wish I wrote them all down to tell you guys. But I get enough complaints that my posts take a month to read. And the pictures explain that part enough (I think?)
If you have any questions about things send them in list formation to me via email during the week and I'll think about them. And get back to you soon.
I want to share a story from my childhood.
I have four younger brothers. They love animals. My parents would never let us have pets when we were younger. One of my brothers especially loved dogs. He begged and begged and begged my parents for a dog. For years. Finally they made a deal with him, that if he worked on a specific attribute (for almost an entire year) and did good at it, they would buy him a brand new boxer puppy for his birthday in March. So he did. He worked especially hard for a ten year old boy and accomplished this specific thing they asked him to do.
Come March he had his very own puppy. Only a couple weeks old. He named her Daisy. Daisy was a hoot. Our entire family loved her and babied her like maybe no other dog had ever been babied. She was a spoiled little puppy. If Dylan wasn't outside playing with her, one of the other five of us were. Most of the time it was all of us together chasing her around. Teaching her to stalk bunnies and chase deer and cows out in the field. We would run up the mountainside behind our house and created these wild fantasies of her being this boss hunting dog (I don't even like hunting but we each had a wild imagination) We couldn't WAIT for her to get big and muscular so she could pull us up the hill with our roller blades on and be our guard dog. We had so many great plans for Daisy. She was our favorite. And Daisy loved us too. I'm not much of an animal person and I don't know much about them. But I can sure tell when a dog is excited to see people. And whenever Dylan came home from school Daisy was there waiting for him to come outside and play. To go on another adventure through the fields and mountains and have some fun.
At this point Daisy was only a month old. She was just barely beginning to grow but was still a very small pup. In April, it was the Annual Pinewood Derby for my brothers scout troop. They were so excited because my Dad gets really into making his cars smooth, fast and beautiful. So they had these little race cars and were prepared to win the whole thing. Our whole family got ready to pile into the car and head over to the Derby.
Daisy was in our garage that day along with my baby sister Makenna and younger brother Ty. My parents opened the garage to start loading up and leave. They all watched the garage door go up and bolted out into the front yard to play before we took off. Not seeing however, that there was a car racing down our street.
Ty, Makenna and Daisy all ran straight outside. Ty and Makenna were on the sidewalk and Daisy was just off the sidewalk in front of them. All of a sudden a high school boy from our neighborhood was racing home in his red jeep. He saw his brother out on a skate board and starting talking to him while he was driving. He was not paying attention and veered across to the wrong side of the road and in an instant he ran over Daisy. He slammed on his brakes. All within a second he saw the situation at hand play out before him. A devastated mothers face, the swift movement of a running fathers pace, a five year old boy only a few feet away from the car, and a three year old toddler, Makenna, standing right next to his vehicle looking down at Daisy. Who was curled up next to his front tire.
There was really nothing to say as Daisy just lay there whimpering. My Dad scooped her into her kennel struggling to find the words for the horrific situation at hand. My mom piled five scared, crying children into a car. Now, not so much concerned with any Derby. Instead headed to the vet. Everyone a little in shock at what just happened. Each of us kids were diligently praying. Positive that God would hear the prayers of five innocent children and would recognize their current needs.
We each waited in the car as Dad took the puppy inside and had her x-rayed. It was a long wait before Dad came back out to share what the fate of our little puppy would be. Daisy was alive, but we learned that her entire pelvis and both hind legs were completely shattered and she had plenty of damage internally. If we were to try to save Daisy by doing countless surgeries, she would still never walk again. She would never run around and play like all dogs should. She would never grow and be our big guard dog, and pull us up hills on our roller blades and go hunting. She wouldn't be able to move, most of her bodily functions wouldn't work properly and we would manually have to help her all day everyday. She frankly would be miserable.The vets advice was to put Daisy down, to sleep.
This wasn't easy news to relay to five young children. We didn't understand why God didn't answer our prayers. The prayers of five innocent, young children, who didn't do anything wrong. This experience, was TRAUMATIZING in the eyes of a 11, 10, 8, 5 and 3 year old's eyes. But a few days later, a very wise Grandpa of mine pointed out a very important fact.
Daisy saved Ty and Makenna's lives. She had ran out right in front of them. She was protecting them. She stepped into the street and was hit by the jeep. But if we recall the instance correctly, following Daisy had been three year old Makenna and five year old Ty. Only feet, maybe inches behind her. If Daisy hadn't been there, if the jeep was going three MPH faster, if the garage went up two seconds earlier, if the boy hadn't felt the bump of the dog first... what might have happened? Would Makenna still be here? Would Ty?
So what happens when your prayers to God go seemingly unanswered?
How do we react?
In that moment I recall us five kids being plenty upset because we prayed and prayed and prayed our little puppy would be okay, and seemingly to us God didn't answer our prayers. Because she wasn't okay! We went home that night with no puppy.
But in a wider range perspective, God did answer our prayers. Because we went home that night with all five siblings in our family. Daisy was an answer to our prayers, we just didn't quite see that yet.
Similarly I want to relate the story of Shaderach, Meshach and Abednego. I was reading in Daniel in the New Testament this week and came across this interesting story. These three dudes were stellar. They believed in God and worshiped God. But the wicked King at the time commanded everybody to worship his golden image and not to pray to God. Obviously Shaderach, Meshach and Abednego were like...
So this king (after his raging furious tantrum) was like
I'm throwing you into a fiery furnace then homeslice.
Still, Shaderach, Meshach and Abednego were steadfast. They were like k man, but we are still praying to our God. I think the King was quite baffled so he laughed at them and mocked them saying who is this God you speak of that can deliver you out of MY hands? Eh?
That's pretty much the condensed version of the story. But my favorite part is their reply to the King. Read it carefully. They said...
"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy Gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." -Daniel 3:17-18
IF IT BE SO
our God is all powerful.
He can save us.
He can do anything if he desires it.
BUT IF NOT
but if not.
EVEN if not, we still will worship our God.
Even if we are burned in a furnace, even if we die for our beliefs,
Even if our prayer to be saved from THIS trial goes seemingly unanswered in this circumstance..
We still will worship our God.
Way to be a Champ boys!
It was the "but if not" that caught my attention. Do I have that attitude? Do I truly believe my God is all powerful to answer EVERY LAST ONE of my prayers, but if he has a different plan, do I have the faith and courage to continue serving him until MY dying breath?
Do I have that kind of attitude when I'm on my knees praying for help?
If it be so, God.
But if not...
Do I have the kind of faith to hold on? To trust his plan?
Well in case you want to know what happened to those three guys who faced the king.. The king was pretty ticked at their reply. So he told his people to crank up the heat. He was gonna kill these guys. So the Kings people bound them up and threw the three men into the middle of this fire. (SO FIERCE)
Can you imagine how much faith that would take? Like God....... Where are you......? I'm literally five seconds away from being cast into a fire pit....
THEN the King looked up. And saw not only the three men cast into the fire pit, but a fourth. He asked his people, didn't we throw three men in there? And they said YEAH Shaderach, Meshach and Abednego.
"He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose,
walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt;
and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God!" -Daniel 3:22
And there was Christ standing in the midst of that fire with them.
Not above or outside looking in.
But literally by there side.
And they were not burnt, nor hurt in any fashion.
They were protected and saved.
I'm sure that wasn't in their plans.
You know ACTUALLY being cast into the fire pit.
The cool part is, that this applies to each and every one of us. God ACTUALLY IS answering our seemingly unanswered prayers. Even when it doesn't feel so now. Because technically, he sent his son JESUS CHRIST who suffered everything for us. Every hurt feeling, heartbreak, sickness and pain. And Christ is literally there standing in our fire pits with us. Not on the outside looking in.
In Mosiah in the Book of Mormon it talks about a group of people who felt their burdens were too great to bear. They prayed and prayed for help and had faith their God would answer them. And he did, uniquely enough he said
"...I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders,
that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God,
do visit my people in their afflictions.
...And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." -Mosiah 24:14-15
We learn in the scriptures, and ultimately in life that God doesn't just wipe out all of our problems for us. But he is always there. To help us, to strengthen us. As we have the faith to turn to him, to ask for help he will ease the burdens upon our backs and strengthen us. And this he does and we can feel through our Savior Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice for us.
As a kid, in a circumstance against my will, I didn't get it. I was confused at where Gods hand was in that situation. I knew he had all power, so why wasn't he using it? Only now have I discovered the bigger picture.
That all will eventually be made right.
That right now is a period of testing, of faith,
of building strength and courage.
Of looking up to God and saying
I KNOW YOU ARE THERE
and if it be so,
I need you to take this one into your own hands
because I can't do this anymore
But if not, I'm not giving up.
I'm going to keep going.
Because I trust you.
So what happens when your prayers to God go seemingly unanswered?
How do you react?
"...but if not..."
January 5, 2015