I once read a story about a man named Mr. Bogar and his experience with a giant wild turkey in 1925.
Mr. Bogar lived on a small farm in the Missouri foothills, and one year he decided to go turkey hunting on the day before Christmas. Now, it wasn’t any ordinary turkey he was after. He went looking for Foots, a legendary wild turkey who left enormous tracks and who was so wary that no one had ever gotten close enough to shoot him.
Setting out on the hunt, Mr. Bogar hadn’t gone far when he spotted gigantic turkey tracks in the freshly fallen snow. Only Foots could have left tracks that large, and Mr. Bogar began to follow them, higher and higher into the hills. There was no sign of Foots himself until Mr. Bogar was high up on a mountainside. Then he caught a glimpse of the giant bird.
Slowly, carefully, Mr. Bogar stalked Foots until he was about 60 yards away. At that range, this marksman could hit anything with his single-shot .22 rifle. He fired, and Foots dropped and lay still. There was Christmas dinner, just waiting to be carried home.
But, as Mr. Bogar approached the bird, it suddenly leaped up. The air was full of feathers and wings and squawks, and Foots soared out over the valley below. Mr. Bogar never saw the big turkey again.
Out of the blue
The next summer, Mr. Bogar happened to be talking to a man who lived down in the valley and who was trying to raise a large family on a struggling farm with a few scrawny cattle. It was not an easy life, and the family didn’t have much. The man wore a coat with so many patches you couldn’t tell the original color.
“Do believe in miracles?” the man asked Mr. Bogar.
He then went on to tell Mr. Bogar about what happened the previous Christmas. Money was scarce, and it looked like Christmas dinner would consist of hominy corn and huckleberries. But as the man rode his old mare down to feed the cattle, a huge turkey crashed dead right in front of him. The man said he hadn’t been praying for a turkey, but maybe his wife had.
Mr. Bogar never told the man about Foots, and the man never knew why a giant turkey had fallen out of the sky right at his feet.
Do you believe in miracles?
Of course you do. You are familiar with this scripture: “And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles” (Morm. 9:19).
But do you believe in miracles in your own life? You should. There is no reason not to believe.
Here are some of the miracles I have seen in the lives of members of the Church in the past few years:
A young man who had been involved in serious transgression asked if it would be all right for him to read the scriptures just to feel the Spirit, even if he did not understand all the doctrine.
A family torn apart by bitterness and contempt was healed by the power of love and repentance.
A young man who was raised in the Church, but who had never had a testimony of the gospel, offered his first verbal prayer in many years and brought tears to the eyes of those around him.
These are real miracles
Do you have some challenges in your life that seem overwhelming at times? Would a miracle help? How can a miracle come about?
“For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith” (Ether 12:12).
We must have faith to have miracles, specifically faith in Jesus Christ. “And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God” (Ether 12:18, emphasis added).
Trust in God is vital, as is confidence that He will do what He says He will do. For example, we pay tithing with faith. He says that He will open the windows of heaven (see Mal. 3:10), and we have confidence that He will.
Next, faith implies enough confidence to act on your belief and to conform your life to truth. I know a family who paid their last $14 in tithing, fully confident the Lord would sustain them.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) taught that faith requires assurance that God will hear our prayers and answer them. No person can have this assurance when he knows he is not living in the way the Lord wants him to live. This is another key element in bringing about miracles. Faith requires repentance. Miracles require faith. So miracles require repentance. Therefore, faith and repentance (which result in righteous living) are the means by which miracles come into our lives.
Are there miracles you desire in your life?
Do you hope and pray you can overcome a habit that has a strong hold on your behavior? Live as you should, work hard at the things you know will help, leave it in the Lord’s hands, have faith, and expect a miracle.
Do you have financial burdens? Live as you should, repent if need be, have faith to pay tithing and fast offerings, work hard, and expect a miracle.
The Lord’s timetable
Now remember, the Lord’s timetable may be different from yours. As Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says, “When we seek inspiration to help make decisions, the Lord gives gentle promptings. These require us to think, to exercise faith, to work, to struggle at times, and to act. Seldom does the whole answer to a decisively important matter or complex problem come all at once. More often it comes a piece at a time without the end in sight” (Ensign, Nov. 1989, 32).
We don’t know how long Alma prayed in faith before an angel visited his son and his son’s friends (see Mosiah 27).
Having faith means doing our best to bring about a miracle, but it also requires having the patience to realize the Lord understands His eternal timetable better than we do.
Do you believe in miracles in your own life? I hope you do.
You have some difficult battles to fight. It is easy to let fear overtake us. Have courage! Have faith! Remember the sons of Helaman. “Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; … yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47).
Have faith! Repent of those things that you need to change in your life. Do not fear. Work hard. Expect a miracle!
Remember the greatest miracle of all time. The Son of Man rose from the grave. He overcame death and hell! He lives. I know that He lives. Because of this, the greatest of miracles, we have no reason to fear, and we have every reason to have faith.