Are You Wishing to see the Signs and Power of God?
By Joni Hilton
Accessed from Meridian Magazine 10.31.16
I have often wondered how many Guardian Angels it takes to keep us all safe on the highways. I picture a comical scene on the other side of the veil, with people being assigned to guide our cars out of harm’s way more often than not, and extra angels–disgruntled ones– being assigned to those of us with bad driving habits. (“Are you kidding me? I got Joni’s car again? I had her car last week!”)
Even growing to adulthood seems to be a miracle, given all the risky chances some kids take from the minute they can toddle around. I wonder if, when we “graduate” to the other side, we’ll be shown scenes of the near misses we all had, in which a loving ancestor intervened to save us.
I even wrote a letter once to my two-year-old son, forgiving him for killing me. He was one of those extremely active, physical kids who broke my rib in utero, scratched my corneas out of utero, dropped a pointed pendulum through my foot, and I just knew would be rummaging through his toy box one day, throw a Tonka truck behind him, catch me in the temple and that would be that. And I didn’t want him scarred forever, knowing he’d killed his own mother. But I was pretty sure the odds were in favor of it happening, thus the letter. And who knows—maybe six or seven guardian angels were on protection duty for that kid (and for me) until he got a bit older. Today he finds this greatly amusing, but we both know I’m lucky to be alive.
And guardian angels are just one example. Our lives are filled with evidence of God’s incredible intelligence, love, design, and purpose. If you really want to see the power and majesty of God, you need look no further than your own life.
Every one of us has an amazing body, one we largely take for granted. But those who study its infinite workings—and microscopic details—find themselves in awe, unable to deny intelligent design.
Painters and poets try to capture the wonder and glory of our beautiful world, and still can’t do it. We admire their works, even though we know from first-hand experience that God’s creations excel any human attempt at description or interpretation.
If we’re paying attention, we encounter amazing coincidences, feel sudden connections to people, and experience bursts of inspiration. We can almost sense how thin the veil is at times, when supernatural things occur, and heavenly guidance is felt.
When we are humble, we look around at our lives and realize we didn’t actually provide “all this” through our own smarts—we had tremendous help from God, who blessed us with talents, opportunities, and circumstances completely beyond our control.
The scriptures, the Plan of Salvation, the organization of the restored church, the saving ordinances we’ve been given—all of these are blatant evidence of God’s love and generosity, and his desire to receive every one of his children back again. Just reading a few verses of the Book of Mormon can instill such power that readers marvel. How is this not a sign and a wonder?
King Benjamin reminded his people of this in his famous speech, when he said, “…he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.” (Mosiah 4:20)
In other words, he reminded them of the times they were literally speechless, so great was their joy in the Lord. And what conversion happens without this occurrence? Whether new to the church or born into it, we must all come to this moment of realization, this witness, that it’s true. And that level of joy is so great that it often catches us off-guard, unable to speak at first.
If we follow Elder Henry B. Eyring’s advice to keep a daily journal of those times when we saw the hand of the Lord in our lives, we’ll be on the lookout. We’ll see such moments that might otherwise have gone unnoticed, or taken for granted. This is how to fill our lives with signs and wonders.
Everyone wants this feeling, this euphoria. But most people seek for it in the wrong places. And too many scoff that such joy could come from faith. From the beginning of mankind on earth, it seems people have wanted proof of God’s existence. Instead of listening to the prophets or exerting faith, they have crouched behind philosophical theories and arguments. They want to see scientific evidence. Miracles. Magic shows. Then they’ll believe.
And, of course, in cases when God does indeed show forth signs and wonders, what invariably happens? Either the people explain it away as a trick or a weird weather phenomenon, let’s say, or they repent for an incredibly brief time, after which they go right back to their rebellious ways. Laman and Lemuel come to mind after visits from angels.
Tangible “proof” doesn’t convert. Only a witness from the Holy Ghost penetrates the heart indelibly, and creates permanent belief. You could see signs and wonders all the day long, but without a teachable, open heart, your brain will rationalize the signs away, your excitement will fade, and you’ll be right back where you started. Signs only work to confirm a testimony that already exists.
President Hinckley once said he doesn’t “fret over the mysteries. I do not worry whether the heavenly gates swing or slide. I am only concerned that they open. I am not worried that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a number of versions of the first vision any more than I am worried that there are four different writers of the gospels in the New Testament, each with his own perceptions, each telling the events to meet his own purpose for writing at the time.
“I am more concerned with the fact that God has revealed in this dispensation a great and marvelous and beautiful plan that motivates men and women to love their Creator and their Redeemer, to appreciate and serve one another, to walk in faith on the road that leads to immortality and eternal life.” (God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear, October Ensign, 1984)
President Hinckley was not waiting for signs and wonders to convince him, or for documents to suddenly appear that prove the church is true. He didn’t go chasing after worldly evidence. He exercised faith. And we can do the same. We can put our trust in the only source of certainty, in our Lord and Savior. Then we will notice more signs and wonders than we ever imagined.