Several weeks ago my aunt called early one morning to request our prayers in behalf of her grandson. He had been enjoying his missionary preparation day at a local zoo in Guatemala and was in the process of taking a photo of his fellow missionaries from what seemed to be a great vantage point. As he stood on a high wall in front of the lion’s cage two lions reached through the bars and he was brutally attacked. Doctors have worked round the clock trying to save his life and his arm if possible.
I’ve had two recovery thoughts in connection with this event. My first thought is in regard to my cousin’s first words after the attack. They were, “Please don’t tell my mother and please don’t send me home.” Bless his heart, but he couldn’t keep this news from his dear mother and he certainly was powerless to determine where he would be sent. When we absolutely know we are powerless, our trust in God and God’s helpers becomes a necessity. I was reminded that none of us can forever keep our difficult situations a secret from those whose prayers we need, and none of us can predict where the Lord will send us for further healing and growth.
My second thought came shortly after hearing of this young man’s critical condition. I was attending an LDS Addiction Recovery meeting, and I decided to share about my cousin. At the conclusion of my sharing I said, “There is no group of people anywhere who understand what it is like to get too close to the lion’s cage than the people in this room. We have all been there.” It became very still in the room. The air was thick with love and understanding and compassion. My friends in recovery know! They know not only that they have done very risky things too, but that there isn’t a soul on earth who hasn’t placed themselves in grave danger at one time or another. It’s true that we don’t always get caught. A friend of mine told me that his son also served his mission in Guatemala and had apparently visited the same zoo. After hearing the news of my cousin’s situation his dad asked him if he had stood on that same wall to take a photo and he replied, “I take the fifth.”
I came away from the meeting knowing that the most important thing isn’t to waste precious time and energy judging each other’s close calls with physical or spiritual danger. The critical thing is to come to know is that there is no lion in our lives or in anyone else’s life more powerful than Heavenly Father’s Lamb.
This week on the ten o’clock news they aired an interview with my cousin. I was deeply moved as he spoke of his experience and showed his scars. He was not hesitant to allow the public to observe the reality that after more surgeries than anyone should have to endure, he chose to sacrifice his arm. The Spirit reminded me that in order to make progress toward our full potential we will all be called upon to make courageous sacrifices, to surrender things that are very difficult and even painful to let go of, in order to ultimately receive the greater blessings that Lord has in store for us. Anyone who has worked through the 12 Steps and the process that brings recovery from addiction or from any of life’s struggles knows the sacrifice required.
As I watched the news that night I looked in his eyes and observed his spirit. I could tell that this is not the end of his life. It’s not the end of his mission. It is just the beginning. No matter how difficult the situation, the sacrifices we make in order to choose life, always bring new life! The Lord promises that, “all things work together for good to then that love God” (Romans 8:28). Our challenge is to take the lord at his word. He says all things! If we are willing to follow Him like a lamb there are no exceptions, no matter what the lion in our lives may be!!!
By Nannette W.
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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