About a month ago, I took my cousin Megan on a field trip with my department to...a place...one which will remain unnamed but where it was reasonable to have the theme be "In His Footsteps" (His, of course, referring to Christ).
We spent a few hours wandering and finished the day with a keynote address related to the theme. My notes on the address are below.
|Here we are, getting ready to listen to the keynote. We are not any place in particular.|
When we think about following in people's footsteps, the image that comes to mind is of trying to fit your boots in the prints left behind in deep snow. But the problem with that image is that it implies that everyone follows the same path in emulating the Savior. And that's not how it actually works.
Take this scene from the New Testament, where Jesus and His apostles are enjoying a meal together. They've finished eating and Christ asks Simon Peter three times, "Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep." You know.
Then while Peter's still dealing with those implications, he turns around and notices Jesus and John the Beloved are having their own conversation. "Hey so what's John gonna do?" Peter asks.
And Jesus basically says, "Does that matter? Follow thou me."
Peter and John were (are? If John is tarrying till Christ come, he might be kicking around somewhere still) important parts of building the Kingdom of God. They had/have their own roles to fill in the way Christ asked.
So, too, do we have our own roles in the Kingdom of God. It doesn't matter what other people are doing. Everyone's path is different, but that doesn't mean we're not treading in Christ's footsteps.
We all have our own trials and tests. President Boyd K. Packer said:
Our lives are made up of thousands of everyday choices. Over the years these little choices will be bundled together and show clearly what we value.The speaker also shared this story from Elder Holland, but I don't remember how it related. But it's a good story! Maybe you can come up with a connection?
The crucial test of life, I repeat, does not center in the choice between fame and obscurity, nor between wealth and poverty. The greatest decision of life is between good and evil.
We may foolishly bring unhappiness and trouble, even suffering upon ourselves. These are not always to be regarded as penalties imposed by a displeased Creator. They are part of the lessons of life, part of the test.
Some are tested by poor health, some by a body that is deformed or homely. Others are tested by handsome and healthy bodies; some by the passion of youth; others by the erosions of age.
Some suffer disappointment in marriage, family problems; others live in poverty and obscurity. Some (perhaps this is the hardest test) find ease and luxury.
All are part of the test, and there is more equality in this testing than sometimes we suspect ("The Choice," Boyd K. Packer, General Conference Oct. 1980).
Katie Lewis is my neighbor. Her father, Randy, is my bishop; her mother, Melanie, is a saint. And her older brother, Jimmie, is battling leukemia.Perhaps it is just the idea that when trials and troubles come, in all their varied ways, we can "Trust Jesus." And follow Him.
Sister Lewis recently recounted for me the unspeakable fear and grief that came to their family when Jimmie’s illness was diagnosed. She spoke of the tears and the waves of sorrow that any mother would experience with a prognosis as grim as Jimmie’s was. But like the faithful Latter-day Saints they are, the Lewises turned to God with urgency and with faith and with hope. They fasted and prayed, prayed and fasted. And they went again and again to the temple.
One day Sister Lewis came home from a temple session weary and worried, feeling the impact of so many days—and nights—of fear being held at bay only by monumental faith.
As she entered her home, four-year-old Katie ran up to her with love in her eyes and a crumpled sheaf of papers in her hand. Holding the papers out to her mother, she said enthusiastically, “Mommy, do you know what these are?”
Sister Lewis said frankly her first impulse was to deflect Katie’s zeal and say she didn’t feel like playing just then. But she thought of her children—all her children—and the possible regret of missed opportunities and little lives that pass too swiftly. So she smiled through her sorrow and said, “No, Katie. I don’t know what they are. Please tell me.”
“They are the scriptures,” Katie beamed back, “and do you know what they say?”
Sister Lewis stopped smiling, gazed deeply at this little child, knelt down to her level, and said, “Tell me, Katie. What do the scriptures say?”
“They say, ‘Trust Jesus.’” And then she was gone.
Sister Lewis said that as she stood back up, holding a fistful of her four-year-old’s scribbling, she felt near-tangible arms of peace encircle her weary soul and a divine stillness calm her troubled heart ("Look to God and Live," Jeffrey R. Holland, General Conference Oct. 1993).