Blessed amid Difficulty

Saturday, September 27

Four Hands Joined TogetherBy Lu Mountenay of Independence, Missouri, USA

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. …When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.

—Psalm 34:15, 17 NRSV

When my son was fighting leukemia, drawing his bone-marrow was such a painful experience for him. He needed me to be right there, even though he was 25, and a parent himself. At first I tried holding his hands during the procedure, but he was too strong and nearly broke my fingers. So then I started massaging his scalp during the process as I prayed.

While I prayed, I imagined the hands of all our family and friends—I felt the whole church community had their hands right next to mine, providing love and support. It was a comfort to Zac, but so much more for me. It was something I could do. It helped take away some of the helplessness I felt. We lost him to the disease, but I could at least do something while he was with us!

Prayer for Peace Compassionate God, open us to the many blessings you desire for us. Help us be receptive to your healing love. Help us share your love and the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice: Voices of God What is the voice of God saying to us? Do we hear the whispers of God’s longing for shalom; God’s dream of healing and wholeness for all creation? Do we hear the “voice” of God calling to us in the sounds of suffering and joy, in scripture and sacred word, in tears and laughter? When and how has God’s voice spoken to you? How does the assurance of comfort come to you through the many “voices” of God?

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will listen for your healing words and not feel helpless as someone suffers.

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Stuck in the Ice

By Willa Frey of Fairbanks, Alaska, USA

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.  Jeremiah 29:7

Many of us get stuck in the mud at least once, but stuck in ice? I mean seriously stuck, as you feel the car sinking beneath you and grindingly come to a complete stop. I was not looking forward to a half-mile walk up the hill through the dark, in freezing ice and snow.

Ugh! Will spring ever come? Many thought it had come a few days ago with the arrival of warm weather and sunshine only to face another storm of ice and snow!

The wheel hubs were almost buried, but the engine gave its all, whining and sputtering while trying to get traction. It worked! Slowly, the car began to crawl forward, and then it broke loose! Whew! Thank you, God!

My mind flashed back to times when I’ve felt the same panic and helplessness with day-to-day problems. With joy, I realized God was still with me and ready to supply other ideas or help when I took the time to ask. I’ve no doubt that God would have given me the energy I needed to walk up the hill, if necessary.

The times when I’m slow to ask and give in to panic or helplessness, God lets me struggle with various options until I’m ready to listen! I realize this is good for me at times. It helps me stretch my muscles—my praying muscles. I need to search for answers, but I also need to know God is always near to guide me, especially when I take the time to listen!

I hear God call me to promote the welfare down the road, in other places. I’m deeply grateful for God’s kind and loving help in finding ways to get there. God is my compass!

Prayer for Peace:

Generous God, we call on you in our need. We pray for guidance to seek the welfare of others. Direct us that we may share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Growing a Gracious, Generous Heart

Each day this week open your heart to God’s grace and generosity with a “breath prayer.” Let your breathing slow and deepen. Be aware of God’s breath moving in and out of your heart.

Spend several minutes focusing on breathing in God’s generosity. With each breath, silently name one gift for which you are thankful. “God, I breathe in the gift of ______ with thanks.” Let your heart expand to contain God’s gracious outpouring.

With each breath out, name one gift you want to share from the overflow of your heart.

Eternal joy and peace await those who grow in the grace of generosity that flows from compassionate hearts.  Doctrine and Covenants 163:9

Peace Covenant:

If I get stuck trying to serve others, God, I’ll remember to pray for new ideas.