Receiving faith building miracles is largely contingent on our willingness to listen!
I was in Japan working for Matsushita. We heard an announcement that there would be a blood drive, and that anyone who wanted could take time to donate on the job site where a tent would be set up. I immediately thought, “No, most of the time I try to donate blood, I fail”, but then the Spirit weighed on my mind, saying “Do it”. I dread giving blood, but I finally stopped debating and signed up.
As I waited in line, a woman nurse began assisting me and getting my information. On finding I was from Utah, she mentioned that her son was taking lessons from missionaries with a Utah connection, but she was against it because Christian churches don’t allow blood donation which could save lives. She was puzzled and surprised as I told her that I had been one of those missionaries, and I was able to tell her how some very ancient scriptures that tell us not to partake of blood had been interpreted strictly by some religious groups to mean no transfusions, when in actuality, it was to prevent people from drinking blood sacrifices or the blood of victims of battle, both of which practices existed and were abominable to the Lord.
As my own blood began to flow as a donation to help save someone’s life, she was genuinely touched and we parted with a bond of friendship, and now appeared willing to recognize that these missionaries could bless her son.
I left, full of the Spirit of gratitude, and very thankful I had listened. And so, three months later, when another opportunity to donate blood came, I decided, “Yes, I’d like to donate again…” The Spirit immediately said, “Don’t do this. It will hurt you, and the blood will ultimately be discarded…” But in the hardness of my heart, I decided to anyway. This time there was no spiritual experience. Instead, I experienced pains in my chest for quite some time after. What a foolish man I often prove myself to be.
For Joseph Smith, perhaps his most poignant memory of disobedience came when he set aside the initial counsel of the Lord to not allow an early manuscript of the Book of Mormon be taken by his friend Martin. He continued to beg the Lord and received permission, but with very strict requirements for their protection. The Lord’s counsel was ignored and the records were lost.
This was devastating to Joseph. When Martin Harris returned, far later than he was supposed to in order to return the manuscript, he sauntered in front of the Smith home with his head down and then sat and refused to come in. When Joseph saw this, he went out and realizing what must have transpired, he cried out in anguish that their souls were lost. He had gone against the will of the Lord in letting Martin take the pages, and now they were gone.
You may find seasons in your life when it is time to stop serving in a calling, or a even a time when we are unable or temporarily disqualified from being able to participate in an activity or association that blesses us. The Lord has his timing. Like Joseph, if we find certain privileges taken for a season, it will be for our own good.
Joseph was told that his gift was taken for a season to protect him from those who would use his work at that time to destroy him. It wasn’t punishment. It was preparation.
And so let us use these seasons cut off from association to prepare… to listen with exactness. Don’t second guess the Spirit. When the Spirit says to do something, let us “Do It!”. And when the Spirit says not to: Don’t!
We live in a difficult day. We need to learn to listen! #HearHim