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Editor’s Note: Our friend and longtime Meridian writer Larry Barkdull recently passed away. To remember and honor him this is one of a series of his past articles that we are republishing regularly.
Moroni chose to complete the Book of Mormon with a plea that we not deny the power and gifts of God. Miracles are around us every day, if we are observant. Here are two stories that a friend shared with me about God’s power and gifts.
The Lord’s Lost-and-Found Department
I am a seminary teacher. In order to complete a project before class started, I awoke at 4:15 a.m. with the intention of heading to the seminary building early. As I walked past the dresser, I discovered that my keys to the building were not there. I searched the logical places, and then the less likely ones, but without success. I dared not call another teacher at this hour to borrow his keys.
I suddenly realized that there was only one thing to do. I knelt and explained my need to my Father in Heaven. A question came into my mind: “How can I let the Lord know that I believe He will help me find the keys?”
I stood up, showered, shaved, dressed in my suit, filled my briefcase, and knelt down again. I had prepared in every way I could to receive the answer I needed.
Just as I began my prayer, a memory entered my mind. I saw myself the night before running across the backyard in the darkness. I had stepped in a hole and had fallen to the ground. “Thank you, Father,” I said. I went to the backyard, picked up the keys from where they had slipped from my pocket, and went to work.
My mother had taught me how to access the Lord’s Lost and Found Department. I remember staring into the white froth of the river as the water tumbled over the rocks and debris as it raced under the bridge. Tears gathered in the corners of my eyes and slid down my face and into the torrent below. I had been looking down into the river and suddenly my glasses were gone.
Now I stared through amblyopia and myopia into the plunging swirl, but there was nothing. I scrambled down the bank and into the water, bending, reaching, feeling, bracing my nine-year-old body against the current. The churning water made it impossible to see anything. My blind groping was useless. The glasses were gone.
Finally, I climbed out and stood there a moment dripping, gathering courage to go home and tell my parents that my carelessness would once again cost them money. Forty minutes later, Mother and I stood together where I had stood alone. “Did you see where they fell?” she asked.
I pointed to a spot, a white whirlpool of water, stones and sticks. I was sobbing now, surrendering to my emotions. I hated to be in trouble, and I was in trouble a lot. I hated to lose things, and I lost things all the time. Dad worked so hard to support his family. Our budget wasn’t built to withstand my constant assaults.
“Did you pray?” Mother asked.
I had not. I knew the words and the formalities of prayer; I said them regularly, but I did not expect answers.
“Come on,” she said. “Hold my hand. Will you ask Heavenly Father to help us?”
I took her hand as I looked at her. Her eyes were already closed, and in my heart a quiet voice whispered, “She gets answers.” I felt something small and warm moving in me, drying up the sadness. I bowed my head and squeezed my eyes shut.
“Heavenly Father, I lost my glasses. Daddy can’t afford new ones and I need em to see good and do better in school. Will you please help us find them? Name of Jesus, Amen.”
Mom gave me a pat on the bottom and I climbed down the bank again and waded into the water to the spot where the glasses had disappeared. I plunged in my hand and grasped a handful of sticks. After a moment’s hesitation, I drew them from the water and examined them. My glasses were there, secured by the temple piece among the twigs and rubble.
The small, warm thing in me grew then, as I stood in the water. It grew and became a shining certainty: “God hears; God answers.”
The lesson stuck. Some years later, when my friend was first married, he and his wife experienced a financial crisis that could only be solved by an all-loving, all-powerful God who foresees and prepares for our futures.
When my wife and I were courting, we often talked about trusting the Lord. Finances, we knew would be a problem. We were students and poor, and we had agreed to not postpone having children.
“Sweetheart,” I asked one Sunday morning, “what will we do if the time comes when we simply do not have enough to get by?”
“We’ll trust the Lord,” she said.
“How will we demonstrate that kind of trust?”
“What does your mother do when she is in financial difficulty? Does she pay less tithes and offerings?”
“No, she pays more.”
“We’ll do something like that. We’ll take whatever we have, donate it to the Lord, tell him our needs, and trust him.”
Two years went by. We had a baby and another was on the way. Medical bills and car repairs had left us with fourteen dollars in the bank. We needed fifty. The next paycheck was a week and a half away.
We talked at the kitchen table on Saturday afternoon. “Do you remember what we decided when we were dating?” my wife asked me.
I remembered. But that was talk. Now we were down to our last fourteen dollars with no prospect of more for ten days.
“We made a covenant,” she continued. “The Lord has never let us down and he won’t now.”
We knelt and told the Lord we needed fifty and that we trusted him. Before we left for sacrament meeting, we knelt in prayer and told the Lord that we needed fifty dollars and that we trusted him. Then we wrote a check for fourteen dollars, emptying our bank account, and gave our offering to the bishop.
When we returned to our apartment after church, the phone was ringing. It was my mother. We visited for a moment then she asked, “Do you remember in elementary school when you used to take a quarter to school and buy Savings Bonds?”
I had a vague recollection. It had been a long time.
“I was in the basement this morning,” she continued, “and I opened an old box. I saw an envelope with two bonds that you bought in 1954 and 1955.
“What denomination are they?” I asked. A small, warm thing began to stir within me.
“They are $25-dollar bonds,” she said. “They are past maturity, so they must be worth a little more than fifty dollars.”
Did the Lord know when I was in the second grade that one day my wife and I would need fifty dollars? Of course he did.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell was fond of reminding us that God is in the details of our lives. His statement was not a wish; it was a fact.