I love to ski. One of my favorite parts of skiing actually comes after you have ‘dominated’ the slopes – or repeatedly slammed your backside all over the mountain. It is after you limp back to the lodge and realize how sore your feet are. It happens when you sit down after a long, awesome day. It is taking off your ski boots.
It is feet nirvana. It is truly sweet relief.
A couple days ago I accompanied the Elders to a couple appointments that they had made. One was to a less active member that went really well. We left feeling excited, uplifted, and happy. It was fantastic.
The second appointment was with a very good man. He had spent years studying the Bible and doing his best to follow Jesus Christ. Through the visit we felt that we were spinning our wheels and that we were just not going to accomplish much. It was not confrontation at all, but it was not at all like our first appointment.
I dropped off the Elders at their apartment for the night and started home. I felt disappointed, saddened, and even a bit confused while pondering the discussion we had. I pulled over, said a brief prayer, and turned the music on.1
I hit play, and no more than two notes into the song I felt an almost instant calm. It felt like I was taking off ski boots. It was a very perceptible relief and peace. My mind was able to slow down, and my testimony grew.
The spirit communicates to each of us differently and individually. When I feel the spirit it is usually a calm, peaceful feeling – like being wrapped up in a warm quilt. I have also, on occasion, felt a burning in my chest that I cannot deny. I can now say that the spirit made me feel an intense relief – like removing ski boots.2
Our Savior knows us individually. The Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.3 I don’t think this means English or Spanish or whatever other language you speak with your physical mouth and vocal cords. The spirit knows how we think, what motivates us, and how to prick our hearts and pierce our souls with stillness.4 During Christ’s ministry on this continent he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.5 The Lord can speak to us absolutely and in a way that is perfectly custom fit for our ears and hearts.
The hymn that ‘happened’ to be playing when I turned the music on?… Where Can I Turn for Peace. The tender mercies of the Lord are real. They are free. They are awesome. They are not random coincidence.6
‘Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish? Who, who can understand? He, only one.
He answers privately, reaches my reaching, In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching. Constant He is and kind, Love without end.’7
1 I am obsessed with Ben Howington and his guitar. His version of ‘We’ll Bring the World His Truth’ is amazing, but I hate to single out one song because I think that all of his stuff is lights out. I pretty much listen to him non-stop. Mormonguitar.com if you care.
2 There are many descriptions of how the spirit makes us feel. We find several in the scriptures. I heard a great description not too long ago in a testimony meeting though – the speaker explained that to him, the spirit feels like “liquid sunshine” is being poured over him. I thought that was so great.
3 2 Nephi 31:3
4 Jarom 1:12, 3 Nephi 17:3
5 3 Nephi 17:21
6 ‘The tender mercies of the Lord’ by David A. Bednar – In addition to an extremely relevant post by Colby.
7 Hymnbook #129 — Also referenced by Colby recently here.
Also, if you have not read the First Presidency Preface in the Hymn Book in a while, it’s worth a refresher. “Some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns… We hope leaders, teachers, and members who are called on to speak will turn often to the hymnbook to find sermons presented powerfully and beautifully in verse.”