There is a noticeable gap in my knowledge of worldly events and happenings during the 18 months I served as a missionary in the Japan Fukuoka Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It represents a time when my focus was on spiritual matters and the events of the world did not interfere. Since the return from my mission I have felt out of step as people have referred to events from that time period, a movie or popular music, but I have come to see my lack of knowledge as a symbol of my time spent with the Lord.
Life since the coronavirus pandemic has felt like God pressed a pause button on the world. A giant pause!
Life has interludes
What can you do during a pause? Spend time with family. Create memories. Study the gospel. Pray. Sing. Search for your ancestors. Bring order to your home. Ponder. Write in your journal. Read. Learn a new skill. Love one another. Minister. Focus on relationships. Consider priorities. Catch your breath. Spend time with the Lord.
The scriptures provide perspective: “Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:16). A giant pause can be a momentous time of stillness to know God, deepen faith, and learn to #HearHim more clearly.
The pause in life may be as brief as a single breath or it may stretch for the time served as a missionary or the duration of a pandemic. Nevertheless, it can provide blessings which can extend into each day.
President Russell M. Nelson recently counselled: “The Lord knows you and loves you. He is your Savior and your Redeemer. He leads and guides His Church. He will lead and guide you in your personal life if you will make time for Him in your life—each and every day” (Russell M. Nelson, “Make Time for the Lord,” Liahona, Nov. 2021).
We can find refuge, peace, and in essence hit our own pause button when we spend time with the Lord. Prayer, scripture study, participation in Come, Follow Me studies, and time in the temple, can be moments to pause as we leave behind all temporal concerns and seek for spiritual renewal.
Find solace at home
These days I find solace in my bedroom. There is a picture of the Saviour on the wall and a piece of art depicting the Cardston Alberta Temple. I find time each day for quiet contemplation with no phones, no TV, and no news. It is fortification for the day ahead where I am constantly bombarded with very real temporal concerns.
When I received the assignment to serve as a member on the Canada Communication Committee with a specific assignment to work on the social media team and to write articles for the Canada church website, Elder James E. Evanson told me that because of my physical challenges this was an assignment I could fulfill from my bed. His words have proven to be true.
My bedroom has become a holy place, a place of peace, a place of comfort, a place of pondering and reflection as I have felt the Spirit.
I feel like the man with palsy who was lowered on his bed through the roof to the Savior. I too am on my bed but instead of being lowered through a roof to Jesus Christ, I feel His presence in my room. Surrounded by a deep feeling of comfort and peace, my room has become a sacred space.
I’ve even had the opportunity to participate in sacred Sabbath moments while watching sacrament meeting due to the blessing of Zoom.
The words of President Russell M. Nelson have penetrated deep into my heart. He said, “Should distance, health challenges, or other constraints prohibit your temple attendance for a season, I invite you to set a regular time to rehearse in your mind the covenants you have made” (Russell M. Nelson, “The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation,” Liahona, Nov. 2021). I am following his counsel and have set aside a regular time to rehearse, study, contemplate, and ponder upon the covenants I have made.
Create time for the Lord
Our efforts to make time for the Lord in our day need not be complicated.
For “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6). We can create the pauses that give us the opportunity to consider and reflect on our love of the Lord. It can be as simple as the wallpaper on our cellphone depicting a picture of the Lord or a daily reminder in our alarms that says, “Make Time for the Lord.” Those small moments can drop by drop provide us the resources of spirit for the difficult moments that will surely come.
As we read from the Book of Mormon: “I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants” (Mosiah 2:21).
Each breath is a gift and a moment to make time for the Lord. The reality of the Lord’s law of multiplicity and abundance means that the moments we find to focus on Jesus Christ will offer dividends beyond our expectation and comprehension.