PROVO, Utah — Reflecting on his experiences and how his testimony has accumulated, Young Men General President Steven J. Lund shared faith-based thoughts with University students and staff Brigham Young during a devotional on September 20.
“Faith and belief are complicated things,” President Lund said. “We cannot judge one another for what we do, don’t know and don’t believe, for testimony comes only by the gifts of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit are, after all, donations.”
This earthly life was designed by our Heavenly Father for His children to exercise faith, holding back a few pieces of the “sophisticated puzzle of mortality” to ensure they could do so, President Lund said.
This explains why, he added, things don’t always make sense.
President Lund said he finds his testimony much like the “reason for hope” (1 Peter 3:15) in him, as “a composite panorama of countless flashes of light through an otherwise earthly veil impenetrable”.
A flash of light in Asia
While on a business trip in Asia, President Lund noticed the morning darkness as he drove from the airport. Crossing a bridge, the walls on either side blocked his view, but after crossing he turned around to see boats on a large body of water.
The realization brought up the question in itself as to how he knew to look back. He remembered that the walls of the bridge had cracks that had lit up as he passed.
“I knew what was there before I knew that I knew. And I would have missed the wonder of it all if I hadn’t turned to look,” he said. Just like this situation, there will be flashes of light throughout life, he explained, but they must be acknowledged.
“Life often presents itself as an unceasing gray wall stretching toward nowhere, but here and there, if you watch them, flickering assurances of God’s love for us will become evident,” President Lund said.
A flash of light in Frankfurt
Another flash of light for President Lund came while he was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, for the United States Army. Joining the army, in itself, was a flash of light for him; he received an incentive in the temple as he sought future guidance after his mission to the Netherlands.
As a young soldier stationed away from home, family home evenings for Church and his young single adults were “a highlight” of his week. One day, he was working late and missing the carpool for his family home evening group of young single adults. The discouraged soldier decided to return home, but instead felt guided by the Spirit to navigate the “spider’s web” streets to the apartment building and the group’s exact door.
“I opened the door, the most amazed 23-year-old in the Church,” President Lund recalled. “Our Heavenly Father had sent a ray of light that replaced my bewilderment with wonder.
A flash of light in his family
President Lund recounted a flash of light that came later in his life when his son, Tanner, returned from a painful football game. Proving to be cancer, Tanner had to deal with a lot more pain throughout his battle with the disease.
One night, Tanner woke up with extreme pain in his head. President Lund and his wife tried to comfort him, but to no avail. Suddenly, Tanner said, “They say I’m supposed to go into the kitchen and sit on the couch. What Tanner did. The next morning, an oncologist said the problem was probably due to a blockage, preventing cerebrospinal fluid from draining.
The only way to get relief was to do exactly like Tanner. President Lund asked, “That made sense, but what were the chances that 12-year-old Tanner would understand that? And, who were “they?” »
A flash of light in Georgia
While serving as mission leaders in the Georgia Mission in Atlanta, President Lund and his wife, Sister Kalleen Lund, received a call from a missionary who had a stomach ache. Not expecting to say this, especially with her limited medical knowledge, Sister Lund told the elder that he had appendicitis and needed to go to the hospital.
Twice ER workers found nothing wrong, but the elder insisted he had appendicitis at the time of Sister Lund’s diagnosis. After finally identifying the problem, the elder underwent surgery. The surgeon said if it had been five minutes later, the missionary might have lost his life.
“In the kingdom of God such stories of faith abound. But miracles rarely happen. To see them, we may have to ‘turn around and look,’” President Lund said.
A flash of light in California
“A flash of light commemorated in our family history involved my young mother driving alone in 1958 from California to her grandmother’s funeral in Arizona,” President Lund said.
After hearing a voice ordering her to pull off the road and stop immediately, she obeyed just before a narrow ravine bridge and in time to see two tractor-trailers come around a bend towards her, pass each other and take the two ways.
President Lund noted that sometimes individuals can be turned away from the majesty of the gospel because hard things happen. “College life is designed, especially here, to take you to the wall where you will have to fight to grow. The doctrines and practices of the Church, and indeed the challenges of our lives, are not always accompanied by explanatory notes. But if we are faithful observers of the workings of the Spirit in our lives, we can still better respect the miracles that illuminate the tapestries of our testimonies and find the courage to move forward in enlightened faith.
The meaning of flashes of light
It references 1 Nephi 17:23-46 when Nephi reminds his family of God’s flashes of light.
President Lund said the sacrament is available weekly—a miracle in itself—as an opportunity to renew covenants with the Lord.
“The gentle, saving flashes of healing light that warm our souls in sacrament meetings are a miracle deeper than even the parting of the Red Sea, more than a soldier guided to a sanctuary, an angel commandeering a telephone to saving a missionary, a sacred whisper leading a child out of pain, Saul finding the Savior on the road to Damascus, a gift from Oxford finding the Savior on the road to Whipsnade or even then the divine throwing of stars and planets in their orderly rotations,” President Lund said. .
Whether big or small, there are flashes of light to be noticed throughout life. There is “evidence [of] a pattern of the veil that lets out light as the Savior pierces it tirelessly to bless His own,” he said.
strength for students
Many students who attended the devotional said they felt their own “flashes of light” as President Lund spoke.
Music education student Rebecca Hilton said she understands that even though it’s not yet clear, “God will give us just enough when we need it, so we can go on and have faith in Him.” … We don’t have to know everything.
In the future, Hilton plans to write down her personal flashes of light moments to look back on those moments, so they won’t be forgotten.
During the devotional, psychology student Liam Gannon wrote of his goal to recognize more of God’s hand in his life. “There are so many things we know, but we don’t realize we know them,” he said.
Horticulture student Mariah Richey said at President Lund’s devotional that she had a revelation when she linked her lyrics to a song she wrote when she was 16. The song spoke of the stars as holes in the sky, placed there by God to shine light from heaven. Although she did not fully understand her own words at the time, she now feels that President Lund’s thoughts “have added clarity,” helping her reflect on her own life and wonder why certain events have happened. occurred.