A sister was talking about an epiphany she had while reading the scriptures this week. She was reading the story in John chapter 11 about Lazarus dying. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother was dying. They expected Jesus to perform a miracle and save their brother. But Jesus waited a couple days before he left the city he was in. By the time he got to Mary and Martha, Lazarus had been dead for four days.
Of course they were heartbroken and wondered why Jesus hadn’t done something sooner. Jesus wept over the loss of his friend Lazarus. He comforted the sisters in their time of trial. Then he performed a miracle and raised Lazarus from the dead.
Kirsten said the story touched her and made her think of things she had never thought before. She said it’s so easy to think of the minor irritations of life and wonder why the Lord won’t just take them away. Sometimes he pushes us to the very end and Lazarus dies. There is no miracle but Jesus comforts us. Other times he performs a miracle and raises Lazarus from the dead. Regardless of what happens in our lives, he is there for us either way.
I liked the ideas she brought up. As I was getting ready for church this morning I was listening to some show on BYU TV. It was about some women who had graduated high school just before World War II. They sent their boyfriends off to war and found jobs learning things that usually only men knew. They married their soldier boyfriends during brief breaks. They would follow their new husbands to as many different stations as they could.
I wasn’t able to pay attention to a lot of the show but I was fascinated. One of the women lost her husband to the war soon after her baby was born. What she said really touched me. She said for the longest time she would ask “Why me?” Then she eventually reached a point where she could sincerely ask “Why not me?” She felt that maybe not every young woman could handle becoming a widow with a new baby. She knew she could handle it. It was hard but she could handle it.
Last Sunday we watched a movie together as a family. It’s called 1000 to 1 and is based on a true story. A young man suffered a stroke his freshman year of college. During his high school career he made a thousand baskets as a star basketball player. He expected to have a wonderful college career as well. But early on he suffered a stroke which was a game changer.
It was interesting that shortly before his stroke he was talking to his girlfriend about dealing with the tragedies of life. She needed to write a paper on Romeo and Juliet. He talked about how sometimes things happen in life and the real test is learning to be okay with it. Then he had a stroke and it did a number on his self esteem. He started talking to a psychiatrist about the depression that inevitably came with such a life change. The doctor asked him why he expected to be who he was before the accident. The doctor suggested he learn to be okay with who he is now. Well, he still wanted to be the basketball player he used to be.
Since basketball was the only thing in life he cared about his friends and family used it as motivation to help him recover. He believed if he worked hard enough he could still play basketball. He worked very hard. But I could really feel for the coach who knew it wasn’t appropriate to put this boy on the team and let him play. The boy was having seizures occasionally and he still couldn’t move quickly enough to make it safe to play
With some pressure from the boy’s roommate the coach finally agreed to put the boy into the last game of his senior year. This is where we had some technical difficulties with the recording. So we missed a little bit. It looks like the other team fouled the boy so he could have two foul shots. The whole gym was full of people who considered this boy an inspiration. He missed the first shot but made the second. That one point that represented his entire collegiate basketball career meant just as much as the thousand points he made in high school.
I loved the ending when he finally came out of the darkness he had been in mentally. He said, “I’ve been to hell and I’m not about to leave anyone there.” You can see him drive up to a house and knock on the door. It was the home of a woman who had emailed him earlier about her 6 year old boy who loved sports but had also had the same kind of stroke. She hoped he would at least call or write her son. When he was finally ready for it he drove to the house to meet the little boy face to face. They kicked a soccer ball around in the backyard and felt renewed hope as they played together. They were both dealing with the same thing and knew they weren’t alone.
It was a wonderful story. Life is not easy. There is always something trying to steal our focus and rob us of peace. Whether it is big or small. It’s so true that the Lord often takes us further in our trials than we ever thought we could handle. Sometimes there’s a miracle and the problem is taken away and sometimes the miracle is that he is there to comfort us. He knows how we feel. He’s been there. The question isn’t why me, it’s why not me.
I believe the verse in 1 Corinthians that says that we will never be tempted beyond what we can handle. It’s through the enabling power of the atonement that we are given the strength to bear what we could never endure on our own. And when I think of that it’s a little flattering that the Lord gives me so much credit. “You want me to deal with what? I can’t do that!” Then he shows me how I can. He pushes me past what I consider to be my limits. I grow. I’m a better person because of it. Why not me?
The other day it really struck me. Heath mentioned that the Bishopric is approaching their first six months. They were called to those positions last October in between General Conference sessions. The next weekend I went home for a day trip to bury my father and grandfather so I could be back to say goodbye to my husband the next day when he was officially set apart as the Executive Secretary. My how time has flown.
I’m approaching my one year anniversary as Primary secretary. And the kids are almost done with this school year. Where has all the time gone? I guess time flies when I am in survival mode. I feel like I have lived in the dark for a year. Yet here I am. I am still standing. So many times I think of the lyrics “how many times can I break and not shatter?” More times than I even thought possible.
The Lord has carried me and blessed me and given me miracles. Lazarus is still dead but I will be fine. My miracles aren’t having the problem taken away. My miracles came from me dealing with it. There is no measure to how much the Lord compensates for difficult trials in life. I am a better person for the trials of life. I have learned so much. The biggest lesson is learning to trust the Lord. Never before have I craved the gospel as much as I have this past year. It means everything to me. When everything else feels dark and confusing I find light in my scriptures, in church meetings, and on my knees in prayer.