As I sat alone in my little trailer house one stifling August day, I could not remember ever feeling as miserable, as hot, as hopeless, and as destitute as I did then.
I had recently lost my companion of 18 years to divorce. I had lost my boot-and-saddle-making business, along with all my shop machinery, and my home, including all equity. But, more significantly, I had lost having my children run to greet me at the end of each day.
Months earlier I had moved to Las Vegas looking for work. Having been a custom boot maker for 20 years, I had at least felt confident in the skills of my trade. I was hired at a local custom boot shop, where my position was to include some managerial responsibilities. Things had not gone well, however. Not only had the owner disapproved of the techniques I used to make boots, but my Spanish had proven to be insufficient to manage other workers, and I made a few mistakes as I tried to settle into the job. Finally the owner determined he could do without me.
Losing this job was the final blow that left me emotionally destitute. Alone and friendless in a strange city, I was financially broke as well as brokenhearted. All seemed utterly hopeless. I knew where I needed to turn, but, feeling as unworthy as I did, I could see no reason why Heavenly Father would trouble Himself with my cause.
There in my trailer prison, I was surprised as the anguish I had submerged for many months forced its way from a place deep within. Through uncontrollable sobs, I cried aloud: “My wife has thrown me out. My boss has thrown me away. I have no way of knowing that Thou hast not also discarded me as useless.” I wept to Heavenly Father that I could not feel His love or comfort through the barrier of my grief and that I needed Him that very hour.
God works in His own way and in His own time. In this instance, my timing aligned with His. I had scarcely finished drying my eyes when there was a knock on my trailer door—the first in the time I had lived there. Standing in front of me were my priesthood leader and his two assistants.
I invited my visitors in and told them about my job situation. Brother Asay, the high priests group leader, sensed I might accept a priesthood blessing. Although I had not shared in detail what I had just been through or told them they were an answer to prayer, this inspired priesthood leader used words of promise that related to my plea some 20 minutes earlier. Heavenly Father wanted me to know He had not tossed me aside but that He would help me be refined and proven through this trial because He loved me. My despair was replaced by a quiet sense of peace and an assurance of His care.
In the Garden of Gethsemane it was required of Him who was above all things to descend below all things. None of our trials can even begin to compare to what the Savior experienced. Yet we all must carry our own burdens in proportion to our own abilities to cope.
An angel from heaven stood by the Savior to strengthen Him in His hour of ultimate anguish. Perhaps the Lord had prayed for that moral support. The angels offering me such support on a hot summer day were Brother Asay and his two assistants.
Since that time the Spirit of the Lord has continued to let me know that Heavenly Father is mindful of me. My anguish that day was a small price to pay to learn a lesson that was priceless.