For most people the Holidays are a time of happiness and joy. Despite the lack of sunshine, the cold weather, and the other stresses which come with the Season, it is a time of warmth, giving, and love. On the left is a picture out of the front door of my families home in Colorado last winter. It is no coincidence that to start the Christmas season we have Thanksgiving. I have often heard testimony of others; as well in my own life how when we take time to count our blessings we are able to see how much the Lord has blessed us in our lives. I remember our Branch President shared a curious verse which illustrated this point in one of our meetings. This comes from the Old Testament with the Lord talking with Moses in the Tabernacle.
Exodus 33: 23 “And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.”
To understand this verse better, it helps to give a little more context. In Exodus 33, Moses is having a conversation with the Lord. In verse 18, Moses asks the Lord “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.” God says that He can’t do so, because, as we read in verse 20, no one can see the face of God and live. As President Allen shared verse 23, it might be more helpful to share the meaning he conveyed if we were to swap a few words to make it read; “And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my past influence: but my present influence shall not be seen.” While I understand this verse has literal significance, I feel this deeper meaning gives us added insight. I feel in these verses the Lord isn’t just telling Moses to look at His back. But it is an admonition to remember what the Lord has done for Moses. Moses truly has been blessed and helped by God, from being saved in Pharaoh’s house, to being led away from Egypt, being led back again, to helping Israel to escape bondage from the Egyptians, and many more things throughout his life.
Many times as I struggle with problems in my own life it is easy for me to forget or to ignore how God has helped me in the past, and to focus only on how difficult life seems to be. I have felt this very much, especially as I have gone through cancer, as I have talked about in these posts. Most often, I am able to see God’s love in my life through other people. I remember spending nights awake, unable to fall asleep despite how tired I was. I remember how many times without any asking on my part either my Mom or my Dad would come to help me with the trial I was having. Whether it be a hot water bottle to put on my legs after surgery or something else, they were often there for me. I know it was the promptings from the Holy Ghost which sent them to help me. I know because of the teachings of the gospel my other siblings have always been there to help me as well. Whether running to the cupboard to get a snack when my movement was limited, or driving me to appointments. I have felt tremendous amount of love from them. Such as Elder Holland talks about here, many times my family have been angels for me to help with the needs and concerns I have had. I know it is the teachings of the gospel and the love of Christ which has helped something potentially detrimental to our family become something which has been a blessing not only for me, but I know it has helped all of my family to focus more on Jesus Christ and what He has done for us.
While I can’t always see presently the glory and blessing of God in my life, I know as I look at past events, I can see His influence and His love. I am grateful for this church and for this gospel. I am grateful for the scriptures. I am grateful for the influence of the Holy Ghost in my life. I feel these things have helped to shape who I am, and I feel they continue to shape me today. I hope we can all take some time to think how Jesus Christ and His Gospel has helped and blessed us in our lives as well.