My wife and I wanted a home in Utah. We had lived overseas for some years, and had recently spent several years in California. I wanted to be back near family and Utah was where much of my family was. We drove up from California to look for a suitable place and found a wonderful model home in South Jordan that seemed perfect for us and our children.
I put money down on the home but, as we were driving away, the Spirit told me, “If you buy that home, you will lose one of your children.” I told my wife of the impression and she had me turn around and rescind the offer. The housing company graciously returned our money, but now we had no place to live and we returned empty-handed. My wife was still in California when I went back to Utah on a business trip with coworkers. After a difficult and busy day, I left them and drove alone to a lot I had seen advertised. It was dark and I could barely see the ground I stood on, but as I walked the dim lot, I received such a spirit of deep peace that I knew this was the lot the Lord wanted us to build on and the place he wanted us to raise our children.
It has been a great blessing, and thus far, our children, now grown, are firm in the gospel and those with children are raising them in the ways of our savior, Jesus Christ. I can only attribute this to my wife’s good efforts and the friends and leaders who helped so much, all of which was all according to God’s tender mercy.
What did I really want? It wasn’t just a home after all. It was much more.
When we are on the Lord’s errand, we will find our superficial hopes blasted because if they don’t fit the Lord’s vision, we must either leave off His errand or determine that what we really want is what He wants. What He wants is always better!
The Saints: A Perfect Home in Kirtland?
The early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ members had a ‘perfect’ home. They had built a temple at Kirtland at great personal sacrifice. This appeared to be the ‘perfect’ home. Hadn’t many recorded visitations of angels there and wasn’t it here that Moses, Elias and Elijah appeared and restored the keys of the gathering of Israel, the dispensation of Abraham and the keys of the dispensation for the redemption of both the living and the dead?
But it wasn’t the Lord’s plan to have them stay. In D&C 117, we have an account of a group of saints that began coveting the land of Kirtland. They were reluctant to move on to build Zion elsewhere. It must have come as a shock when the Lord told them, “Let them repent of all their sins, and of all their covetous desires, before me… for what is property unto me? … Let the properties of Kirtland be turned out for debts, saith the Lord. Let them go…”
6 For have I not the fowls of heaven, and also the fish of the sea, and the beasts of the mountains? Have I not made the earth? Do I not hold the destinies of all the armies of the nations of the earth?D&C 117:6-8
7 Therefore, will I not make solitary places to bud and to blossom, and to bring forth in abundance? saith the Lord.
8 Is there not room enough on the mountains of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and on the plains of Olaha Shinehah, or the land where Adam dwelt, that you should covet that which is but the drop, and neglect the more weighty matters?
The Lord knew that the saints were not to stay there. He even knew that saints of that generation would not be in Missouri long, even though that is where they were being sent to build Zion. The Lord gives interesting hints of the Salt Lake valley as their long-term destination:
· I can make desolate places blossom
· Consider the mountains of Adam Ondi-Ahman
· Consider the plains of Olaha Shinehah (the Garden of Eden)
They would cross the plains and the mountains of the Great Salt Lake would house a temple, and all nations would flow unto it. And the desolate valley would be made to blossom as the rose, just as Isaiah prophesied. It would take faith. Surely, compared to all the verdant, beautiful places the saints had called home, the Salt Lake valley laid in stark contrast. But fulfilling prophecy takes faith. And for that generation, it became the perfect home from which the gospel would go forth as a stone cut out of a mountain without hands, and it would roll forth and fill the earth. And it continues to roll forth.
Let us stop focusing on “that which is but the drop” and neglect building our eternal home.