Instant Messages

By Russell Hitchcock


Instant Messages features personal experiences, insights into favorite hymns and scriptures, and other uplifting thoughts. If you have a personal experience that has strengthened your testimony and you’d like us to consider it for Instant Messages, please e-mail it to newera@ldschurch.org

or send it to

New Era, Instant Messages
50 E. North Temple St. Rm. 2420
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3220, USA

Please limit submissions to 400 words or less. They may be edited for length and clarity.

Blocking the Wind

It was a beautiful day in the hills of Tennessee, and I was on a two-hour training ride for cycling with my uncle. For the first half of the ride the wind was at our back, and we flew right along without any difficulty. When we changed direction, however, we found out why our ride had been so easy. Now the wind, which was blowing hard at about 20–30 miles an hour, was in our faces.

In cycling there is a technique, called drafting, where one person rides in the front and uses the most energy to break the wind for the person who rides right behind.

My uncle is a big guy—about 6 foot 3 inches tall and 240 pounds—so he was having a horrible time trying to keep up with a little 17-year-old on a road bike. About halfway home the wind was at its worst, so I accelerated ahead and slid in front of my uncle.

The next day at church he talked about how much of a difference it made. “You’re little, but the amount of wind you blocked made such a significant difference.” He then made a comparison that has changed my life. He said, “It’s almost like when you are having trouble in life, you let the Savior slip in front of you and you get behind Him. You still have to work to stay behind Him, but the wind He blocks makes a world of difference.”

After that ride I was worn, hurting, and beat, but after hearing my uncle, I realized that all I have to do is let the Savior lead and then do the work to stay behind Him, and He will take the wind for me.

[photo] Photograph by Craig Dimond, posed by models

The Last Chapter

For other experiences see “Accepting the Challenge,” New Era, Dec. 2006, p. 10.

When President Hinckley announced his challenge to Church members to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, I went to work. I read the scriptures every single night, even if it was only one or two verses at a time. The more I kept reading, the more I noticed the difference it was making in my life.

I prayed and felt closer to the Savior each time I read. I also started doing better in school and other things. December was coming quick, and I was going to turn 12 and receive the Aaronic Priesthood. I tried as hard as I could to be done by my birthday, but I didn’t make it. Sometimes I forgot to read, but my Primary teachers encouraged me to keep choosing the right and to finish the Book of Mormon.

On Christmas Day I woke up and read the final chapters in the Book of Moroni. I felt the Spirit, and I knew the Book of Mormon was true. I know with all my heart that we can become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ, by reading and following the scriptures.

That Glorious Feeling

It was the end of the assembly on Joseph Smith at our seminary, and our teachers had left the last 15 minutes for testimonies. I knew I had felt something during the program, and I realized I had to go up and bear my testimony even though I wasn’t sure if I had one.

I had recently turned 15, and I was questioning everything. I had prayed and read my scriptures, but the answer hadn’t yet come. I began to think Heavenly Father had abandoned me. I didn’t know if it was right to bear a testimony I wasn’t sure I had.

But as soon as I got up there, peace came over me, and I realized that I did know. I knew Christ was my Savior, I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I knew Heavenly Father was there, listening. I began crying for joy. Heavenly Father hadn’t abandoned me, and He had answered my prayer through my own testimony.

I know that if I live the gospel and do my best, then I will never lose that glorious feeling of knowing what I’m doing is right.

[photo] Stained glass window from Brigham City Third Ward building

Let Him In

I pounded on the door as the tears streamed down my face. I tried turning the doorknob again, but it was locked. “Please let me in,” I begged. My sister had been struggling with an eating disorder, and I knew that behind the door she was doing something that was harmful, both physically and spiritually.

I knocked on the door again. She knew I was out here. After waiting in silence, I heard her muffled response. “Please go away,” she said. “I don’t want your help.”

Her words broke my heart. My parents knew about my sister’s problem, and they had been taking the right steps to help her. All she needed now was someone she could talk to, someone who could help her find the strength to fight her addiction. I wanted so much to be that person, but she refused to let me in. Overwhelmed with emotion, I lay on the ground and began to sob.

At that moment, I understood a little bit better how our Heavenly Father feels when He sees His children participating in acts that bring them pain. More than anything, all He wants is for us to let Him in so that He can help. He has said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

Just like my sister, in life we experience many problems and weaknesses we cannot overcome alone. But often we turn away the only person who can help us. Through the Savior’s help, we have the power to overcome sin and temptation. He is outside the door, waiting for us to open up and invite Him into our lives.

[illustration] Jesus Knocking at the Door, by Del Parson