I enjoy running.
Early each morning during our recent assignment in New Zealand, I would start out from our home on Arney Road in Auckland and follow different streets, sometimes to Remuera, sometimes to One Tree Hill. To an early morning runner in New Zealand, there are many benefits. Not only is the country striking in its natural beauty, but it has some of the most spectacular sunrises in the world. On some mornings, the sky is ablaze as the billowing clouds catch the sun’s first light. On other mornings, the colors are more quiet and subdued. At other times all is dismal and rainy. It is hard to tell what the sunrise might bring. Sometimes a potentially great dawn will suddenly cloud over and there is nothing but darkness and rain. Sometimes, at just the right moment, the sun breaks through and a spectacular daybreak unfolds. Every day is different. It holds its own mysteries, its own surprises.
How like life this is. We don’t really know what can be expected from one day to the next. We have to take each day as it comes.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is not designed to miraculously change each day from overcast gloom to brightness and light. It is designed, however, to give us an inner light, a strength that will help us meet the good days with appreciation and the bad days with faith and determination, until a “new dawn” offers relief.
“For I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3).
A number of years ago, when we were living in Boston, I had just finished a particularly bad week. You know what a bad week is, don’t you? It’s seven straight bad days. By the end of the week I was feeling down and a bit sorry for myself.
Finally, one night after my family had gone to bed, I determined to stay up longer and really go before the Lord in a more determined way than when I say my regular night and morning prayers.
As I knelt in the downstairs study of the darkened house, my circumstances made it easy to approach the Lord in the depths of humility, and I poured out my heart. As I prayed, I felt a need for a confirmation that He was there and that He cared. From past experiences I knew these things, but there are times when one needs the strength of reconfirmation. As I prayed and made this specific request, I had a most remarkable experience. I had had spiritual experiences before, but this, to me, was more. There was an outpouring of the Spirit so real that I could feel it. It filled my whole soul and was not just a single experience but came again and again in the space of just a minute or two.
I came from that room that night with a reconfirmed and absolute knowledge, born of the Spirit, that not only did the Savior live, but that He knew me and cared for me with a love that was truly divine.
The influence of that experience lingered with me for days and caused me to have a feeling of genuine concern and love for my fellowmen, even people on the street whom I did not know! While previously I would pass them with little or no thought, I now felt a concern for and interest in them. Even my family seemed to be more dear to me. I felt a bond with the Saints everywhere and wanted to serve my fellowmen.
I can’t remember the trials I was facing at that particular time. They passed as trials usually do. But I will always remember the experience of that evening when the Spirit healed me. It reconfirmed to me that if our hearts are right, we can go before the Lord and in one degree or another and in one way or another he will send the healing influence of the Spirit, and that the Spirit not only heals, but it also unites. This need not be a singular experience but can happen often.
As each new day dawns in our lives, may we arm ourselves with meaningful prayer and the keeping of the commandments. In this way the light of the Holy Ghost will shine from within us and sustain us. It will help us get the very most out of what lies ahead. It will help us to change what can and should be changed. And it will help us to be steady as we go through experiences that we cannot alter.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11).