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Monday, April 22, 2013

The Promise of His Presence, Part 2: The Formula

One of my favorite movies is "Miracle", the inspiring, true story of Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell), the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Russian squad.

I *highly* recommend watching this movie.

On another level, this movie is about a team that transcended its sport and united a nation with a new feeling of hope. When the team was first formed, its hockey players were a ragtag squad of college kids.

In one scene, before the Olympics, the US team played an exhibition match against a team in Europe.  They didn't take the game seriously, and Coach Brooks knew it.  So after losing the game, Brooks had his team go back onto the ice and had them run drills, skating a few yards, then back again, then skating further again, then back...for several hours.  Brooks said:
"Red line, back. Blue line, back. Far blue line, back. Far red line, back. And you have 45 seconds to do it. Get used to this drill. You'll be doing it a lot. Why? Because the legs feed the wolf, gentlemen. I can't promise you we'll be the best team at Lake Placid next February. But we will be the best conditioned. That I can promise you."
Brooks' statement was prophetic.

Herb Brooks knew full well (better than his players and even the US Olympic Hockey Association) that they were on a collision course with the legendary juggernaut, the Soviet Union's Olympic Hockey Team.  This fact may have been what inspired Brooks to tell his team, "This cannot be a team of common men, because common men go nowhere."

Despite long odds, Team USA met the Soviet team in the Olympics semi-finals.  They proved to be extremely well-conditioned for the match-up.  With the world watching, the team rose to the occasion, prompting broadcaster Al Michaels' now famous question, to the millions viewing at home: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"  The US college kids beat the Soviet hockey team, which had previously routed the NHL All-Stars 6–0 and consistently won Olympic gold for 26 years.

I believe that seeking the fulfillment of D&C 93:1 in our lives requires the same kind of dedication.  Note the Lord's advice on this topic:
Seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (D&C 88:63; emphasis mine)

Focus on Actions, Not Goals


This one thing -- having an audience with the Savior -- is the purpose of the restoration, the central theme of the Book of Mormon, and the narrative in the temple.  However, in our earnestness to have an audience with the Savior, we may be susceptible to making two mistakes:

First, like hockey, some see such an event as a "goal" or another “worthy objective" to obtain, as if it was something to be listed on a resume or a bucket list.  

As mortals, we are conditioned from an early age to "obtain" things.  When I picture the word obtain, I see peoples' hands extending in a grabbing position, palms down.  I think we would do better to view life as a process of receiving (not obtaining), with hands extended and palms up, being grateful for all that the Lord gives to us, on His timetable.  Obtaining seems selfish; receiving seems patient and grateful.  Being blessed with a testimony of Christ in the flesh is not something we obtain, grab or take, but instead, we receive, allow and exhibit patience.  I hope that makes sense.

Second, we may view "asking" for such a blessing is a prime prerequisite.  However, while speaking of D&C 93:1, Pres. Spencer W. Kimball once stated,
"...no man will ever see God by just wishing it, wanting it, asking for it -- nobody with just ordinary interest or curiosity.  The Lord doesn't go around just showing Himself -- like you go to a show and see something you pay for.  The Lord doesn't.  But every soul may see Him and know that He is, if that soul will do the things the Lord will require of him." (Elder Spencer W. Kimball, "See His Face", Santa Monica Stake fireside on November 18, 1973; http://toadland.net/1er/way/Kimball_face.pdf; emphasis mine)
So, on one hand, you have the Lord inviting us to "ask"; on the other hand, you have SWK saying we will never see God by just asking for it.  How do we resolve this seeming contradiction?

Pres. Kimball continues:
"There isn't anyone in this room who cannot see God and walk with God and know God and be close to Him and know His purposes, and become one. It's possible to every soul who does five things and they're enumerated in the scripture." (Emphasis mine)
In my opinion, the Lord knows full well what the desires of your heart are.  It's no surprise, it's not news to Him that you wish to have an audience with Him.  Instead, what He wants us to do is to seek Him. And you're effectively seeking Him as you implement the five actions listed in D&C 93:1:
  1. Forsake your sins.
  2. Come unto Him. 
  3. Call on His name.
  4. Obey His voice.
  5. Keep His commandments.
I think that here, the Lord is telling us that our actions truly speak louder than words.  Have your actions be your calling card.  You just do them!

With this knowledge, you now have your "red line" and "blue line".  Run those five drills so often, that you become well conditioned to them. Proceed forward with dedication, commitment and (most of all) patience, not unlike the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team.

By doing these things, you will strip away any supposed invincibility in your spiritual opponent, Satan.  And someday, you, too, will witness the "Miracle" of a testimony of Christ in the flesh first-hand, in the Lord's due time, and in His own way.

In my next post, we'll discuss just how to proceed forward, examining the first of the five things enumerated in D&C 93:1 to see the Lord.

3 comments:

  1. This is wonderful. This scripture (93:1) has been my beacon of late. I felt impressed several months ago that these five steps were what I was to study intently, understand and live in order to receive the desires of my heart. I ponder them daily and am so glad you are going to share your insights/understandings of what each of the five steps means and requires of us.

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  2. Thank you for your post. I appreciate how your words strengthen my own faith and hope in being able to have an audience with Christ.
    How is step 4, obeying His voice different than step 5 keeping His commandments? Don't they both imply keeping the Lord's commandments?

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  3. Thanks for your kind words!

    I'm covering both Step 4 and Step 5 in fine-tooth comb detail here in the near future. I'll also be sure and differentiate the two when we cross that bridge.

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