Lighting Our Minds and Filling Our Hearts…
Have you ever searched for truth, looked for answers to questions long desired, sought peace in troubling times, or comfort in moments of despair? Of course you have, we all have desired to know or have that which eludes us. After passing through 2020, and the first week of 2021, how could any of us not be seeking answers and solace in the face of a year of pestilence and unrest? I, for one, have sought all my life for answers to mysteries, great and small, and although much can be discovered in books, hallowed halls of learning, from the wisdom of man, and even the worldwide web, the most perfect answers and peace are found on bended knee reaching heavenward.
The most perfect answers and peace are found on bended knee reaching heavenward.
In the New Testament book of James, an apostle of Jesus Christ describes in a letter to the Saints how wisdom is best sought and received. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). As a child I did not discover this scripture at first on my own. I was moved upon by the Spirit at a young age by the story of a fourteen year-old boy who sought wisdom, and had sufficient faith to receive it.
In 1820, upon reading James 1:5, young Joseph Smith was moved to act on the divine invitation for answers. He expressed this in his own words in an account found in Joseph Smith – History a book in Pearl of Great Price. “Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did… I at length came to the determination to ‘ask of God,’ concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture…. I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty…. After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God” (JS-H 1:12-15).
In answer to his heartfelt prayer, Joseph Smith testified, “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JS-H 1:16-17).
Like Adam, who was given answers while obediently offering sacrifice; Like Abraham, who sought the blessing of raising a son up unto God and received a descendantsy that would be numbered beyond the stars; Like Moses, who cried out for the deliverance of his people and was empowered to liberate them; Like Nephi, who sought understanding of his father’s vision and saw with his own eyes the coming of the Lord; Like Mary, whose only desire was to be the handmaiden of her Lord and was blessed to see an angel and bear the son of God; Like Joseph, who dreamt only wanting to do right by God and his love Mary received a confirming answer; Like the woman stricken, knelt just to touch the hem of His robe for healing and was healed through; Like Saul, who saw a light and never turned from it, becoming Paul; so Joseph Smith knelt, asked and saw the light which filled the grove, sparking his understanding and leading to the restoration of all things. Said he, “I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true;… For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it,… I had found the testimony of James to be true—that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain, and not be upbraided” (JS-H 1:25-26).
In the April 2018 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson taught, “The Prophet Joseph Smith set a pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions. Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God, the boy Joseph took his question directly to Heavenly Father. He sought personal revelation, and his seeking opened this last dispensation. In like manner, what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.”
Let us accept this invitation from prophets, seers and revelators like the Apostle James and President Nelson. Let us put our faith in the arm and word of God above what second guessing people can offer. Let us kneel before He who knows all and can offer all wisdom to a questioning nation. The clouded doctrines and foolishness of men will never rise above the clear heavens of God’s wisdom.
The clouded doctrines and foolishness of men will never rise above the clear heavens of God’s wisdom.
Our answers may come by the Still Small Voice of the Holy Ghost as we study or listen to God’s word. Knowledge and warning may come in a dream like unto Lehi or Mary’s Joseph. We may witness light and angelic visitation like Mary, Alma, Nephi or the shepherds watching their sheep by night. We may feel the healing touch of God’s power by His hand or the hands of His servants. We may experience tender mercy by the visit or kind gesture of a friend or neighbor sent from Him to minister. We may be strengthened to endure grievous trial and tribulation with peace and comfort. We may feel forgiveness and the healing power of the infinite atonement of the Savior. Yes, we may even be graced to see His face and to know Him as did Joseph in his glorious first vision.
May we accept His sincere invitation and ask. Regardless of the manner in which our prayers are answered, if we kneel and ask with real intent, God will answer our prayers, lighting our minds and filling our hearts. It is His promise, and by His Spirit I so testify. “Hear Him!” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.