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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who's Your Spiritual Foxhole Partner?

Bishop Clay Sannar

What were you doing on Sunday, August 30, 2010?

On that day, my family and I had were returning from a trip to Disneyland.  I remember the California weather that day -- it was nice and pleasant.

Tragically, on that same day, at about 12:30pm, 47-year-old Kenneth James Ward of Modesto, CA walked into an LDS church chapel in Visalia, CA.  At that time, 40 year-old Bishop Clay Sannar was conducting interviews after the three-hour block of morning meetings.  Ward waited calmly outside the bishop's office while the interviews took place.  When Sannar was done, Ward asked to see him.  When Ward and Sannar entered the Bishop's office, Ward shot Sannar in the foot then pulled him into the foyer, where he shot him in the face.  Police later exchanged gunfire with, and killed, Ward.

Sannar was the general manager of a fertilizer company in Visalia. He and his wife had six boys, including a 6-month-old infant.

What isn't known by many is that after Ward brandished his gun, Bishop Sannar's main focus was to get people out of harm's way, at sacrifice to himself.

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The week after the tragic events in Visalia happened, I substitute taught the Gospel Doctrine class in my ward.  I explained what happened in Visalia the week before, and described to the class Bishop Sannar's heroic efforts in the last seconds of his mortal life.

I asked them then, and I ask you now: "Who are the TRUE heroes in our midst?"

I ask because I know that someday, things are going to get very dicey.  The scriptures have described how the heavens and earth, evil men and evil spirits, will combine to create a hell on earth that was so catastrophic and horrifying, that prophets of old asked for the vision to close and to be shown no more.  They viewed events that may transpire in our lifetimes, and almost certainly in our childrens' lifetimes.

During those times, I will want a hero closeby, someone who has walked the fiery, hot coals of life in truly heart- and soul-wretching ways, and was still standing before God.  They, like Bishop Clay Sannar, would have my back.  Because I, most certainly, would have their back as well.

I told the class that because of past and present church callings, I have had occasion to interact with apostles, seventy, general auxiliary leaders and many stake presidents.  Although they are all good men, honor their priesthood and should be respected in their callings, I told the class that I would not choose any of them as a hero I could stand beside.

I told them that instead, as the hero I would want closeby, were people in our midst...

...a sister who was horribly sexually abused when she was younger.  Yet despite those tragic circumstances, she allowed God to mold her into a sister who is loving and kind to others, attends the temple regularly and is raising children who are strong and valiant in God.

...a brother and sister who were once hard-core drug users and dealers, who have since cleaned up their lives, were converted to the gospel and have been sealed for time and eternity in the temple.

...a brother who, for the rest of his life, will be afflicted with a very unique and debilitating form of manic depression, yet seeks out ways to improve the lives of others that is truly inspirational.

...a sister who has lived a lifetime of abuse and neglect, yet has a perpetual smile on her face and a relationship with Christ that would amaze anyone who knew the details.

None of these people have significant church callings.  But rest assured, someday when they stand before God, the angels in heaven will quietly bow their heads in quiet reverence for these truly valiant souls who overcame a few things, and will be blessed with all things.

My question to you: 

Who's someone (and you don't have to name them) you would want standing next to you in your spiritual foxholes of the future?

2 comments:

  1. My wife who faithfully moves on despite her illness, undaunted she trusts in our Father and with faith unshaken confirms that in God all things can be turned for good.

    ReplyDelete