March 14, 2017

adventures in bible reading: open your eyes

Last week's action item: testify to one person a day about God's love for them.

I need to make a confession.

I have the best job in the world. That felt good to get off my chest. I feel like screaming it every time I leave the gates of the MTC. I have been so blessed to be working there. 

For those of you that don't know what the MTC is, it is place of training for Mormon missionaries. You know, the guys that walk around in suits with black name tags all of the time? These missionaries (my sister is currently one of them!) go around living my action item for this week EVERY DAY. Every day, they testify of God's love to every person that will listen to them ... and sometimes even to people that won't. I know that they truly feel of that Godly love because I have felt it myself more times than I can count.

I felt it on my mission ... and I get the chance to feel it now as I teach these missionaries.

Focusing on testifying on God's love this week was another incredible experience. I prayed every morning to find people that needed to hear it. It turns out that basically everyone needs to be reminded of that love every once and a while ... and because my eyes were open for opportunities, I was able to tell many people that I love that God was aware of their needs.

If you need that reminder today, I want you to know that God loves you. He does! And I've learned this week that He loves you despite your flaws and imperfections. He just loves, no strings attached.

This week was really rewarding.

I have a couple of stories in the Old Testament that are "gold nuggets" for me. They aren't very big, but the meaning that they carry changes my life every time I return to them. One of these gold nuggets is found in 2 Kings 6. In this chapter, Elisha (a prophet) is in a pickle with his servant. The Israelites are at war with Syria and are prospering, thanks to the guidance of Elisha. As soon as the leader of Syria finds out that Elisha is the cause of the victory of Israel, he sends an army in the middle of the night to surround the city where Elisha was staying.

Imagine this: you go to bed without a care in the world, only to wake up and find that an entire army is intent on capturing you. I would be pretty nervous, to say the least. Elisha's servant certainly was! He sees the army and cries out to Elisha, "[What] shall we do?" Elisha responds calmly with a pretty famous phrase from the Bible: "Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." 

I can imagine the servant's look of confusion in that moment. After all, they seemed to be completely alone. Elisha knew better, however, and prays that God will open the eyes of the servant. God immediately grants that request, and the servant looks up to the mountains and is able to see that the mountains are "full of horses and chariots of fire". Miraculously, Elisha and his servant escape the Syrian army and continue their respective missions in life.

Isn't that an amazing story? (also, Chariot's of Fire sounds like a great name for a movie ...)

At the risk of being too open, and with that story in mind, I have another confession to make: I close my eyes to God's blessings way too often in my life.

Last week, I insinuated that my life has been crazy these days. Even though the crazy has been building to a climax, it still takes me by surprise every time. Assignments are due way quicker than I initially anticipated, motivation to avoid procrastination is constantly countered by a desire to socialize and have fun, relationships are crazy, callings need magnifying. The list goes on. 

Life is a lot of (often confusing) work, and sometimes I feel just like the servant of Elisha ... half-awake and nervous about the future. 

But I know that God loves me. I know that He will protect me as I strive to do what He asks of me, no matter how large the challenges are that face me. He that is with me is more than any trial, any pain, or any confusion that I might experience. And that gives me confidence in a bright and happy future ahead.

Action Items for next week: Pray to have my eyes opened to the blessings that Heavenly Father has given me. Write down a way that I have seen His hand in my life every day.

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