Well, not being one to back down from a challenge, I accepted. And, oddly enough, I spoke in Sacrament meeting last Easter, and my ward got reorganized in the fall, so it was practically like a whole other ward anyway, so I thought I might be able to recycle some of my talk from last year. (Because really, who would remember what I talked about a whole year ago anyway?) And besides that, I’m practically an expert on writing Sacrament talks (remember my series of posts on that very topic?) so I had it in the bag, right?
Well, almost. See, I’ve been in something of a funk lately. You know what I mean? Like, haven’t really been reading my scriptures, been going through the motions with my calling. I’ve been praying, and I’ve been asking the Lord to kind of help motivate me to get out of my funk, but I’ve just been halfheartedly saying the words because I know I should. So, I knew it was going to be a little bit like getting into a cold pool. I needed to baby step my way down. But I only had a few hours in which to do it.
I decided to go back to a version of my talk from last Easter that I'd used for an Institute devotional on the Resurrection. As I was reading it, I felt prompted to look through my Institute journal to see if there was anything in there I might be able to use. In my journal, I found a note I'd made about a quotation I'd wanted to look up. So, I went online to look up the quotation and found a BYU devotional by Chad Webb. I decided it might help with the talk so I started reading it. And this is what I read:
"When do you feel least like praying and going to church? Isn't it when we make a mistake? Somehow we want to hide ourselves from Heavenly Father. It's incredible the fig leaves we make. We fill our lives with business, [with] trips, tangible, and temporal things, which aren't bad of themselves, but when we do this to hide ourselves from Heavenly Father, instead of coming to Him to have a quiet moment of reconciliation, we miss the incredible opportunity and blessing to rely on the atonement.... “
"God so loved the world, and so loved you, that He gave His only begotten Son that you and I could be forgiven, and when we make mistakes and don't want Him to notice us, a better response is to come to the one who loves us most, and be covered through the atonement of His Only Begotten Son. The greatest way to rely on the atonement is to trust God. He loves us and wants us to be clean. Not only to be forgiven but to be changed... Through the atonement of Jesus Christ He can help us become clean and to have a new heart by changing our very nature.”
Umm...wow. It was one of a handful of times in my life when I felt like Heavenly Father was speaking directly to me, and it was incredibly humbling. I was reminded of the words to the Michael McLean song, "Ninety and Nine”:
“I am one of the ninety and nine. I’m not perfect, but basically I’m doing fine. I have not lost my way, I have not gone astray- I’m just one of the ninety and nine. I am here in the heart of the fold. I’m not mindless, but I try to do as I’m told. I’m not tempted to run and become the lost one. I’m just one of the ninety and nine. So why is my Shepherd coming this way toward me? He’s searching to find me, and He takes me aside and sweetly confides these remarkable words in my ear: ‘You are one of the ninety and nine. Have you any idea how brightly you shine? You are safe in this fold and it’s time you were told that I know where you’ve been and I know where you’ll be, because all of your life you’ve been following Me. You are more than just one of the sands of the sea or just one of the ninety and nine- you are mine.’”
I’m still working on my funk- it’s a process- but this much I do know: He sees you. He knows you. He loves you. And He’s dying to tell you if only you let Him.