The Wish of my Heart - part two

Last Sunday I was asked to give a talk on two of my favorite conference talks from April 2010. I haven't heard or read them all so I'm not sure these are my favorite, but this is the talk I gave. I hope you enjoy.

Recently in my personal scripture study I read the well known plea of Alma, "Oh that I were an angel and could have the wish of my heart…" His wish was to cry repentance unto all nations. It made me think about what my wish--my ONE wish--of my heart is.

As I have thought about it and the things I wish I could have, I made a list.
A slim body
A stuffed bank account
My mom
My sister
My father-in-law
Cured from cancer

All of those are great things to wish for, but it isn't the one wish I have. Even with me facing surgery in 24 hours and the start of chemotherapy in 36, my wish is the same as Lehi's. That all of my children will cling to the iron rod and that there will be no "empty chairs" (as president Eyring said) around the dinner table in heaven. As I have pondered on this and struggled with the idea that if the Lord was granting wishes this weekend--one to every one who asked--my wish would not be for healing but for a surety that all of my children will never let go of the iron rod and that it would lead them to the Holy Temple where they too will make one of the most beautiful and sacred covenants that assures them to be at our family's table in Heaven. That is the wish of my heart.

As many of you know I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma late last summer. We were hoping that a round of radiation would knock it out. But that didn’t happen. The second round didn't do it either and now we are staring the last treatment option available: chemotherapy. As I face this treatment I have to have hope. Hope in my doctors and nurses. Hope in the researchers. Hope in the treatment. I have studied what I will go through. I've learned more about cancer than I ever wanted to know. Cancer books, pamphlets and literature have filled my waking moments. I know a lot about what is about to happen to me. Because of that I have hope.

I have studied the scriptures and the Plan of Salvation and I know what is going to happen. Because of that I have hope.

In Elder Andersen's talk "The Rock of Our Redeemer" he talks about hope. He talks about how the saints in 1846 were forced in February to cross a frozen Mississippi to escape the persecution of the Illinois mobs. My family was in those companies that crossed the river and then proceeded to walk to Salt Lake. I have read their journals. It is true they were full of hope. Hope for a place to live in peace. Hope for a place where they could worship Heavenly Father and Jesus their Savior without having one eye and ear open to spot trouble lurking outside. They were full of hope. They had hope because they have built up their faith. But it wasn't faith in Joseph Smith or Brigham Young or even themselves. It was faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They had faith that led them to hope.

"Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope."

I quote Elder Andersen:

"Hope comes from faith in Jesus Christ. He has already overcome the world and has promised that He will wipe away our tears if we will only turn to Him and believe and follow.
Some who at this very moment feel desperate or discouraged may wonder how they can possibly regain hope. If you are one of those, remember that hope comes as a result of faith. If we would build our hope, we must build our faith.
Faith in the Savior requires more than mere belief. The Apostle James taught that even the devils believe and tremble. But true faith requires work. The difference between the devils and the faithful members of this Church is not belief but work. Faith grows by keeping the commandments. We must work at keeping the commandments. From the Bible Dictionary we read that “miracles do not produce faith but strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ; in other words, faith comes by righteousness.”

"When we strive to keep the commandments of God, repenting of our sins and promising our best efforts to follow the Savior, we begin to grow in confidence that through the Atonement everything will be all right. Those feelings are confirmed by the Holy Ghost, who drives from us what our pioneer mothers and fathers called “our useless cares.” In spite of our trials, we are filled with a sense of well-being and feel to sing with them that indeed “all is well.""

And those who are righteous do indeed reap the blessings of miracles. I have witnessed and been part of many miracles.

As I have been reading the Book of Mormon recently I came upon Alma's words to the people of Gideon found in Alma 7. He testifies of the Savior and in it says this:

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities

Our Savior didn't just suffer in the Garden for those who had sin. The drops of blood weren't just for those who stole or murdered, no they were for you and me--those who live a relatively righteous and good life. They were for the physical pains of illness of heart ache. He did so because he who would comfort us, needed to know what it felt like to have that physical pain, that physical heart ache. Those drops were so he could "know according to the flesh how to succor" me.

Elder Andersen said:

"I speak to all who suffer, to all who mourn, to all who now face or who will yet face trials and challenges in this life. My message is to all who are worried or afraid or discouraged. My message is but an echo, a reminder of the constant comforting counsel from a loving Father to His children since the world began.

“Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”

It is now for me to use my faith and hope in my Savior to ask for that succor and those miracles and blessings that our family so needs at this time. It is through our faith that our family has hope.

Elder Oaks talked about priesthood blessings for the sick. Many of us didn't not get to hear this talk since he gave it in the Priesthood session, but I urge you to read it, it is powerful.

He talks about five parts of blessings of the sick, but I will only talk about two: Faith & The will of the Lord.
"Faith is essential for healing by the powers of heaven. The Book of Mormon even teaches that “if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them”. In a notable talk on administering to the sick, President Spencer W. Kimball said: “The need of faith is often underestimated. The ill one and the family often seem to depend wholly on the power of the priesthood and the gift of healing that they hope the administering brethren may have, whereas the greater responsibility is with him who is blessed. . . . The major element is the faith of the individual when that person is conscious and accountable. ‘Thy faith hath made thee whole’ was repeated so often by the Master that it almost became a chorus.”

As Elder Andersen taught us, it is through obedience and our righteousness that we build up our faith in Jesus Christ. And it is through that faith that we gain hope. I do not think I could walk this path that the Lord has asked me to walk without hope. It is too much to ask of anyone. There has been too much sadness and trials in my life to continue, or so the world tells me, but like Job I have faith enough to hope for better things. And if not in this life in the next. I do not want to miss it.

Aligning my will with the Lord's is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I don't know why for over 40 plus years I have fought him over this--I always lose, but I continue to question his time table. Our natural man asks the "why?" questions and our spiritual man asks the "what now?" questions of the Lord. Or better yet, they reply, "Here am I, send me." or as Nephi said, "I will go and do…"

Elder Oaks said, "As children of God, knowing of His great love and His ultimate knowledge of what is best for our eternal welfare, we trust in Him. The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith means trust."

I have faith. I have faith that he truly did suffer the pains of cancer, the heart break of motherhood and the heart break of losing those you love.
I have trust. I can trust that his will is the will that I need to align myself with but I must first ask to know his will.
I have hope. Hope that no matter where this journey takes me here on earth, I know where it will end in heaven. I know that I will be sitting in one of those chairs with the others in my family who have held to the Iron Rod and lived righteously and joyously here on earth. My one wish is that those whom I love so dearly, my husband and my children will be there too. I know that my sister, my mother and my father-in-law are there waiting for us to finish our earthly mission and to take our seats at the table. My one wish is that my children will hold to the Rod, taste the fruit and have their feet firmly planted on the Rock of their Redeemer.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.