While raising my children, I usually had a large vegetable garden. As my rows of pole beans grew, they would climb the strands of wires strung from pole to pole. The summer sun, rich soil and abundant water produced lots of beans to be bottled in my pressure cooker.
One day, I was canning beans and needed just a few more to finish a batch. I returned to the garden and looked for enough beans to fill seven bottles. I was picking by feel because it was dusk and I could not see well. My hands followed the vines until I found clumps of beans growing, then I would pick and drop them into the bucket that was hanging from my arm. Even though I did the picking in the dark, I came into the house with a large harvest. I had enough to fill my bottles and plenty to begin a second batch. I felt good about being able to get a good harvest, even if it was by feeling my way around the garden in the dark.
The next day, I decided to take another look at the garden. I thought, perhaps, there were one or two clumps of beans that I had missed during the previous picking.
In the light of the day, I was amazed to discover many more beans that had been missed. I reviewed my harvest and had gathered three times as many beans as I had picked the night before! The daylight harvest provided enough beans to can two more full batches.
The experience caused me to remember how we often become content and even proud with how well we are doing at grappling through the darkness of life. We may think that our lives are satisfying and we may fail to use the light of gospel principles. We feel happy and believe all is well.
But as we return to the light, we can receive much more than we thought possible. Each additional step in gospel progression adds more light and more insight than we had before.
My husband and I currently serve as missionaries and have been working with a wonderful new member named Lee. Recently, she had an experience similar to my harvesting in the daylight. Lee had never attended a stake conference meeting. When the meeting was explained to her, she felt that she did not need to attend another meeting. It looked like a chance to sleep in on Sunday. But her new church friends encouraged her to come and she finally consented.
When Lee arrived at stake centre, she was surprised to see so many saints gathered and was especially glad to see the missionary who taught her the gospel a few months earlier. The brief reunion left her overcome with emotion as the conference session began.
With each talk in conference, the Spirit touched her again and again. Soon tears of gratitude streamed down her cheeks. When the large hall full of members stood to sing I Stand All Amazed, Lee heard the words “…to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine.” Though she had struggled to know if she could ever fit in with church members after a life living in “the world,” hearing this hymn made her feel that she was not the only person who needed the Lord’s help to improve her worthiness. A great sense of belonging in this new church and with its people filled her heart and mind.
As the meeting ended, Lee told her new friends that it had been the most incredible experience that she had ever had. She explained that though she had thought it was okay to miss this meeting, she was so glad that she had come.