Seeing Clearly


Adapted from a BYU devotional address given on September 12, 1995.
Finding someone else’s glasses helped me see an important principle.

I have always had a difficult time wading into a lake or river slowly. It is just like cutting your finger off a little bit at a time! I would rather have one giant breathtaking shock than the dozens of painful ones that come from slowly wading into the river.

A few years back I was at a Young Men’s camp in Canada. At that time, local Church members furnished all of our instructors and youth leaders and ran the camp with wonderful members of the Church.

During the week I was there, the staff organized a “Polar Bear” club. In order to qualify you had to swim at 6:00 A.M. four mornings in a row in the cold Elbow River. It had snowed eight inches at an elevation 1,000 feet higher than our camp. Of course the staff thought I ought to join the club.

At 6:00 A.M., down to the river we went. I filled my lungs with all the air they could hold so I could not suck in anything else when the shock of the cold water caused me to catch my breath. I dove in, and it was ice cold. I swam to the middle of the river where it was almost chest deep.

In a moment a stake president dove in and came up right beside me. After the shock of cold, he asked, “Did I have my glasses on?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “Did you?” He said he thought he had.

“Swim over to the bank and see.”

In a moment he came back and said, “I did have them on.”

The Elbow River was flowing about 10 to 12 miles an hour. I imagined it would have carried his glasses down the river toward Calgary.

Here was a stake president who had spent his own money to drive from western Canada to Calgary, had brought his whole family with him in an older wood-paneled station wagon. He had all the gasoline, lodging, and meal expenses coming, and the training fees. I knew it must have been a terrific financial strain on him. I was certain he could not afford $200 or $300 for a new pair of glasses.

I walked upstream about 20 or 30 feet. I offered a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to help me find his glasses. Mind you, it was 6:00 A.M., the water was cold and clear but flowing relatively fast. I lay down on my back and floated downstream. I had an impression and stopped. I looked down in the water and thought I could see something glistening on the bottom of the river. I dove down and came up with the stake president’s glasses and handed them to this great man.

I have thought of this incident many times since. I believe it was an experience that taught me to see more clearly how much the Lord loves those who, like this stake president, do their best to serve him. He who knows when the sparrow falls also knows when his children are in need of even the smallest things. (See Matt. 10:29–31.)

Van Johnson from Leoma, Tennessee, tells of a personal experience he had in high school.

“Mr. Garner Ezell, my high school football coach, insisted on commitment from his players. ‘I’m committed to you,’ he said in a booming voice, his bushy eyebrows raised as he paced the locker room. ‘If you need me, I’m here.’

“I proved myself on the field, winning the best blocker award in sophomore year. Just before junior year, I made a tackle that left me paralyzed from the shoulders down. What can Coach do for me now? I wondered in the hospital.

“Coach became a regular visitor. He stood by my bedside with my teammates, re-creating games they had played. ‘See you in a few days,’ he said as the team filed out.

“Sure enough, Coach came back. And before leaving, he always said, ‘See you in a few days.’ Coach Ezell made me feel cared about and important. But I wondered how long his concern would last.

“Recently, after a good visit, I listened to Mr. Ezell say from my doorway, ‘See you in a few days.’”

Now he has done that for more than 24 years.

I believe this coach saw clearly, too. He saw that Christlike love involves true commitment. He saw clearly the type of love that the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven have for each of us.

David is described in the Bible as having a heart like unto God’s own heart. This can be found in both 1 Samuel 13:14 [1 Sam. 13:14] and again in Acts 13:22. I think if you have a heart like unto God’s own heart, you are interested in little things that may not be important to a lot of other people but would be very important to the person involved.

When we see clearly, we see that God loves all his children. He is ready and eager to help those who show faith in him.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Paul Mann