Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Thinking – He’s in the D.e.t.a.i.l.s.

Ask any of the kids and they’ll tell you that I frequently remind them: “Don't forget the D.E.T.A.I.L.S!”  When they recount their experiences, I want to hear about the little things as well as the big things.  The details are where so many big things take place.

I believe that God is in the details of our lives.  I really believe it.  But just because I believe He is in the details does not mean that I believe that God causes everything to happen.  I believe He allows us the opportunity to make choices and that He allows things to happen, even ugly things, so as to preserve the agency of man – that ability to act for ourselves and not be acted upon.*   Because I believe He is in the details of our lives while allowing us to make choices, He will always be a just and merciful God to me, not whimsical or a player of favorites.

Neal A. Maxwell said it well:  “I have found that the Lord gives more instructions than explanations . . . So it is, amid the vastness of His creations, God’s personal shaping influence is felt in the details of our lives—not only in the details of the galaxies and molecules but, much more importantly, in the details of our own lives. Somehow God is providing these individual tutorials for us while at the same time He is overseeing cosmic funerals and births, for as one earth passes away so another is born (see Moses 1:38). It is marvelous that He would attend to us so personally in the midst of those cosmic duties.”

I tend to think of it like this:  When our kids are born, we do everything for them.  We rock them and feed them and then tip them up and burp them.  Then we tip them upside down and change their diapers and their clothes.  We wipe their mouths and bathe their bodies.  And, we love them.  We even roll them over when they need it and carry them wherever they need to go.  After they are more independent, we still help them though we don’t control everything.  We provide food, clothing, shelter, transportation, learning opportunities, and security.  We correct them, help them discover their talents and encourage them to build them.  We prepare them for the future as best we can.  And, we love them.  Even when they are grown and completely autonomous, we still give rides to and from airports, send frequent e-mails of news, concern, and support, call on the phone, mail packages, visit them, give advice, and plan reunions and opportunities to celebrate.  And, we love them.  I imagine our Father in Heaven perfects that model of parenting – giving us a place to grow and learn and have opportunities, while giving love, care, instructions, correction, and guidance.

Because I believe that our Father in Heaven is in the details of our lives, I believe He speaks to us with the intent to show his love for us,  and remind us of what we need most to do and learn while we’re on Earth.  Some of those ways that He speaks to us include the quiet peace, comfort, and whisperings of the Holy Ghost **.  Other ways include the noisier earth sounds like thunders, earthquakes, storms, tempests, and fires. *** Still another way He speaks to us are through prophets.****  I know that God communicates with mankind today just as He did with Adam, or Noah, or Methuselah, or John the Baptist, for the worth of all souls is great to Him.  Yes, I believe that God is acutely aware of us and gives us opportunities to see, and feel, and hear that love and concern that He has for us. 

Not only is it evident the Lord is in the details of Moses life, the thing that
makes this drawing great is such minute detail

And that’s what I’ve been thinking about this week, how God is in the details of my life and how He has let me know that.  This weekend is our LDS General Conference where prophets and apostles speak to anyone willing to listen.  I remember last April’s conference very clearly.  Grace had just moved in with us and Abe was in Iraq.  In the days before General Conference, I prayed that I would learn from it what I most needed to understand.  It was a wonderful conference and I felt spiritually lifted when it was finished, but I didn’t necessarily feel like I had learned one specific thing above another.  I did, however, think it interesting that so many talks seemed to address death – especially untimely deaths.  Because the topic was repeated so often, I thought more than once, “Wow.  There must be a lot of people dealing with death.  I wonder if they’re able to hear this and find comfort.  I wonder who died.”  Little did I know then that those talks were strengthening and preparing us for the news we would receive a month later about Clara, our first grandchild - Abe and Grace’s first child, and her early death.  I don’t know that anyone else listening to the conference heard so many references to death, for them the repeated topic might have been hope, faith, charity, or whatever the details in their life needed.  All I know is that the Lord helped my ears to hear about death and the beauty of life everlasting and once you see the Lord's hand in the details, His fingerprints are everywhere.  I’m so grateful that God is in the details of our lives.  

And that is what I’ve been thinking about. 

 2 Nephi 2:26:  And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.  

** John 14:27:  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let you’re your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  

*** Isaiah 29:6:  Thou shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.  

**** Amos 3:7:  Surely the Lord God will do nothing (until) he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets.  


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, Jane. As always. Love, Tina

Becky said...

Oh, Jane.

Your words touch my heart so often. I love General Conference so very much, and I love that just like reading the scriptures, those talks give different answers to different people.

Not surprisingly, most conference talks in the last few years for me have been about families and parenting and teaching...

I have been having that stirring feeling (I know of no other way to explain it) that the Lord often gives me when I need to prepare for unexpected change in our lives so I can hardly wait to see what answers and peace this Conference brings to me.

thank you for your constant example to me!

melanie said...

Beautiful post Jane. I do look forward to this weekend and the uplifting feeling I'm left with. Always so much to ponder.

Marie said...

The most amazing thing about General Conference, and indeed about personal revelation, is that hundreds of thousands of people listen to the same words of council and guidance, but come away with very different impressions.

Looking back, I don't recall a single reference to death or dying young. But for you to have heard those words and be a little more prepared for the loss of Sweet Clara is astounding and testifies of the personal connection we all can have with our Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost. Amazing, isn't it?

Tyler - Danielle - Emree said...

I am so excited for the details of this weekend

michelle said...

"...once you see the Lord's hand in the details, His fingerprints are everywhere." That is so beautiful, Jane.

I thought Elder Holland's talk about how we all hear what we need to hear was fascinating.

Jill said...

I love this post! I loved Elder Holland's closing talk about the way everyone chooses their talks and how they are individually inspired, so that some talks stand out for some people while other talks hit home for us. I recently started reading No Doubt It by Sister Dew and am pretty much marking every page because it applies to me so profoundly right now. I feel the Lord in the details and in leading me to that book.

Charity said...

Thanks for this. I shared some of your comments in our RS newsletter (I gave you full credit). I feel like everyone can benefit from knowing that the Lord is mindful of the details of their life. Thanks again...

Charity from Alaska...