Consider The Blessings by Thomas S. Monson


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Our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance.

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Consider The Blessings by Thomas S. Monson

  1. 1. In early 1965, I was assigned to By President Thomas S. Monson attend stake conferences and to hold other meetings throughout the SouthConsider the Blessings Pacific area. This was my first visit to that part of the world, and it was a time never to be forgotten. Much that was spiritual in nature occurred during this assignment as I met with leaders,Our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us members, and missionaries. On the weekend of Saturday andas we call upon Him for assistance. Sunday, February 20 and 21, we were in Brisbane, Australia, to hold regular conference sessions of the BrisbaneM Stake. During meetings on Saturday, y beloved brothers and sisters, you take an inventory of your life and I was introduced to the district this conference marks 49 look specifically for the blessings, large president from an adjoining area. years since I was sustained, and small, you have received. As I shook his hand, I had a strongon October 4, 1963, as a member of Reinforced constantly during my impression that I needed to speakthe Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. own review of the years has been my with him and to provide counsel, andForty-nine years is a long time. In knowledge that our prayers are heard so I asked him if he would accompanymany ways, however, the time seems and answered. We are familiar with me to the Sunday morning session thevery short since I stood at the pulpit in the truth found in 2 Nephi in the Book following day so that this could bethe Tabernacle and gave my very first of Mormon: “Men are, that they might accomplished.general conference address. have joy.” 1 I testify that much of that Following the Sunday session, we Much has changed since October 4, joy comes as we recognize that we had an opportunity to visit together.1963. We live in a unique time in the can communicate with our Heavenly We talked of his many responsi-world’s history. We are blessed with Father through prayer and that those bilities as district president. As weso very much. And yet it is sometimes prayers will be heard and answered— did so, I felt impressed to offer himdifficult to view the problems and perhaps not how and when we specific suggestions concerningpermissiveness around us and not expected they would be answered, missionary work and how he andbecome discouraged. I have found but they will be answered and by his members could help the full-timethat, rather than dwelling on the a Heavenly Father who knows and missionaries in their labors in his area.negative, if we will take a step back loves us perfectly and who desires our I later learned that this man had beenand consider the blessings in our lives, happiness. Hasn’t He promised us, “Be praying for guidance in this regard. Toincluding seemingly small, sometimes thou humble; and the Lord thy God him our visit was a special witness thatoverlooked blessings, we can find shall lead thee by the hand, and give his prayers were heard and answered.greater happiness. thee answer to thy prayers”? 2 This was a seemingly unremarkable As I have reviewed the past 49 years, For the next few minutes allotted to meeting but one which I am con-I have made some discoveries. One is me, I would like to share with you just vinced was guided by the Spirit andthat countless experiences I have had a tiny sampling of the experiences I which made a difference in that dis-were not necessarily those one would have had wherein prayers were heard trict president’s life and administration,consider extraordinary. In fact, at the and answered and which, in retro- in the lives of his members, and in thetime they transpired, they often seemed spect, brought blessings into my life success of the missionaries there.unremarkable and even ordinary. And as well as the lives of others. My daily My brothers and sisters, the Lord’syet, in retrospect, they enriched and journal, kept over all these years, has purposes are often accomplished asblessed lives—not the least of which helped provide some specifics which we pay heed to the guidance of thewas my own. I would recommend this I most likely would not otherwise be Spirit. I believe that the more we actsame exercise to you—namely, that able to recount. upon the inspiration and impressions86
  2. 2. wheelchair over to greet me. We had an enjoyable visit, and I accompanied him back to his hospital room, where I gave him a blessing. I learned later from my friend that he had been utterly despondent that day and had been contemplating taking his own life. He had prayed for relief but began to feel that his prayers had gone unanswered. He went to the pool with the thought that this would be a way to end his misery—by guid- ing his wheelchair into the deep end of the pool. I had arrived at a critical moment, in response to what I know was inspiration from on high. My friend was able to live many more years—years filled with hap- piness and gratitude. How pleased I am to have been an instrument in the Lord’s hands on that critical day at the swimming pool. On another occasion, as Sister Monson and I were driving home after visiting friends, I felt impressed that we should go into town—a drive of many miles—to pay a visit to an elderly widow who had once lived in our ward. Her name was Zella Thomas. At the time, she was a resi- dent in a care center. That early after- noon we found her to be extremely frail but lying peacefully on her bed. Zella had long been blind, but she recognized our voices immediately.which come to us, the more the Lord dressed, and was soon on my way to She asked if I might give her a bless-will entrust to us His errands. see this good man. ing, adding that she was prepared to I have learned, as I have mentioned When I arrived at his room, I found die if the Lord wanted her to returnin previous messages, never to post- that it was empty. Upon inquiry I home. There was a sweet, peacefulpone a prompting. On one occasion learned I would probably find him in spirit in the room, and all of us knewmany years ago, I was swimming laps the swimming pool area of the hospi- that her remaining time in mortalityat the old Deseret Gym in Salt Lake tal, an area which was used for physi- would be brief. Zella took me by theCity when I felt the inspiration to go cal therapy. Such turned out to be the hand and said that she had prayedto the University Hospital to visit a case. He had guided himself there in fervently that I would come to see hergood friend of mine who had lost the his wheelchair and was the only occu- and provide her a blessing. I told heruse of his lower limbs because of a pant of the room. He was on the far that we had come because of directmalignancy and the surgery which side of the pool, near the deep end. I inspiration from our Heavenly Father.followed. I immediately left the pool, called to him, and he maneuvered his I kissed her on the forehead, knowing November 2012 87
  3. 3. that I perhaps would not again see one of my books and underscored the the circumstances associated with theher in mortality. Such proved to be the chapters on missionary service. cultural celebration the evening beforecase, for she passed away the follow- About a week later the young man’s the temple was dedicated, I realizeding day. To have been able to provide mother telephoned and advised that her that the performance that night wassome comfort and peace to our sweet son was an outstanding young man but not ordinary. Rather, it was quiteZella was a blessing to her and to me. that because of certain influences in his remarkable. The opportunity to be a blessing life, his long-held desire to serve a mis- As with all cultural events held inin the life of another often comes sion had diminished. She indicated she conjunction with temple dedications,unexpectedly. On one extremely cold and his father had fasted and prayed the youth in the Kansas City MissouriSaturday night during the winter of that his heart would be changed. They Temple District had rehearsed the1983–84, Sister Monson and I drove had placed his name on the prayer performance in separate groups inseveral miles to the mountain valley of roll of the Provo Utah Temple. They their own areas. The plan was that theyMidway, Utah, where we have a home. hoped that somehow, in some way, his would meet all together in the largeThe temperature that night was minus heart would be touched for good and rented municipal center on the Saturday24 degrees Fahrenheit (–31°C), and we he would return to his desire to fill a morning of the performance so thatwanted to make certain all was well at mission and to serve the Lord faithfully. they could learn when and where toour home there. We checked and found The mother wanted me to know that enter, where they were to stand, howthat it was fine, so we left to return to she looked upon the events of that cold much space should be between themSalt Lake City. We barely made it the evening as an answer to their prayers in and the person next to them, how tofew miles to the highway before our car his behalf. I said, “I agree with you.” exit the main floor, and so forth—manystopped working. We were completely After several months and more details which they would have to graspstranded. I have seldom, if ever, been as communication with this young man, during the day as those in charge putcold as we were that night. Sister Monson and I were overjoyed the various scenes together so that the Reluctantly we began walking to attend his missionary farewell final performance would be polishedtoward the nearest town, the cars prior to his departure for the Canada and professional.whizzing past us. Finally one car Vancouver Mission. There was just one major problemstopped, and a young man offered Was it chance that our paths crossed that day. The entire production wasto help. We eventually found that on that cold December night? I do not dependent on prerecorded segmentsthe diesel fuel in our gas tank had for one moment believe so. Rather, I that would be shown on the largethickened because of the cold, making believe our meeting was an answer to screen known as a Jumbotron. Theseit impossible for us to drive the car. a mother’s and father’s heartfelt prayers recorded segments were critical toThis kind young man drove us back for the son they cherished. the entire production. They not onlyto our Midway home. I attempted to Again, my brothers and sisters, tied it all together, but each televisedreimburse him for his services, but he our Heavenly Father is aware of our segment would introduce the nextgraciously declined. He indicated that needs and will help us as we call performance. The video segmentshe was a Boy Scout and wanted to do upon Him for assistance. I believe provided the framework on which thea good turn. I identified myself to him, that no concern of ours is too small or entire production depended. And theand he expressed his appreciation for insignificant. The Lord is in the details Jumbotron was not working.the privilege to be of help. Assuming of our lives. Technicians worked frantically tothat he was about missionary age, I I should like to conclude by relat- solve the problem while the youthasked him if he had plans to serve a ing one recent experience which had waited, hundreds of them, losingmission. He indicated he was not cer- an impact on hundreds. It occurred at precious rehearsal time. The situationtain just what he wanted to do. the cultural celebration for the Kansas began to look impossible. On the following Monday morn- City Temple, just five months ago. As The writer and director of the cele-ing, I wrote a letter to this young man with so much that happens in our bration, Susan Cooper, later explained:and thanked him for his kindness. In lives, at the time it seemed to be just “As we moved from plan A to B to Z,the letter I encouraged him to serve a another experience where everything we knew that it wasn’t working. . . . Asfull-time mission. I enclosed a copy of worked out. However, as I learned of we were looking at the schedule, we88
  4. 4. center that evening, we had no idea of the difficulties of the day. Only later did we learn of them. What we witnessed, however, was a beautiful, polished performance—one of the best I have seen. The youth radiated a glorious, powerful spirit which was felt by all who were present. They seemed to know just where to enter, where to stand, and how to interact with all the other performers around them. When I learned that their rehearsals had been cut short and that many of the numbers had not been rehearsed by the entire group, I was astonished. No one would have known. The Lord had indeed made up the difference. I never cease to be amazed by how the Lord can motivate and direct the length and breadth of His kingdom and yet have time to provide inspi- ration concerning one individual— or one cultural celebration or one Jumbotron. The fact that He can, that He does, is a testimony to me. My brothers and sisters, the Lord is in all of our lives. He loves us. He wants to bless us. He wants us to seek His help. As He guides us and directs us and as He hears and answers our prayers, we will find the happiness here and now that He desires for us. May we be aware of His blessings in our lives, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, amen. ◼knew that it was going to be beyond for what they themselves could not dous, but we knew that we had one of because of the shortage of time. NOTES 1. 2 Nephi 2:25.the greatest strengths on the floor Said one who wrote about it 2. Doctrine and Covenants 112:10.below—3,000 youth. We needed to go afterward, “It was a prayer the youth 3. Susan Cooper, in Maurine Proctor,down and tell [them] what was hap- will never forget, not because the “Nothing’s Too Hard for the Lord: The Kansas City Cultural Celebration,” Meridianpening and draw upon their faith.” 3 floor was hard, but because the Spirit Magazine, May 9, 2012, Just an hour before the audience melted their bones.” 4 4. Proctor, Meridian Magazine, May 9, 2012.would begin to enter the center, 3,000 It was not long before one of theyouth knelt on the floor and prayed technicians came to tell them that thetogether. They prayed that those work- problem had been discovered and Short Video Highlighting on the Jumbotron would be inspired corrected. He attributed the solution to Scan this QR code to watch or share a short video clipto know what to do to repair it; they luck, but all those youth knew better. (1–2 minutes) of this message.asked their Heavenly Father to make up When we entered the municipal November 2012 89