Once again, General Conference was an extravaganza of wisdom and inspiration. I found myself thinking, “No, no” as you could tell various speakers were winding up their comments; I wanted so many of them to go on longer. Truly the Lord sent needed messages directly to my heart-how does He know exactly what I need to hear each time? It reminds me of the way I tease Bob when he can apparently read my mind, and I cover my forehead with my hands and say, “Get out of there. That’s private property!” Couples who’ve been married for a long time can almost finish each other’s sentences, and undoubtedly know what I’m talking about.
But Conference speakers do the same thing-they zero in on the hidden corners of my heart where I thought my struggles were private. Fortunately, they lead me tenderly to higher ground every time. These chosen voices are, from society at large, a hidden wonder of the world. Our leaders listen to promptings from God, and say exactly what He would have us hear!
Do you think, as you watch Conference, of all the people you wish could participate? So many messages seem almost to bear the names of troubled souls we know, people whose lives could be changed in five minutes if only they could drink at these living fountains. Nowhere else can you find so many astounding messages of hope and joy, so much truth and light, so much practical advice for happier living. And though we often invite nonmembers and less active members to sup at this table, many do not. And we mourn what they are missing.
They say public speaking is the second greatest fear, exceeded only by the fear of falling. Yet humble servants accept the assignment to address millions of listeners around the world. In addition, they accept the Lord’s counsel about their topic. And many of those topics are daunting, to say the least. What a testimony it is to see them step up to the plate, or in this case, to the podium, and obey their Father in Heaven, even when it’s a difficult task. As a worldwide church we feel sweeping gratitude for these brave leaders and guides who have fasted, prayed, researched, and exerted faith-all so that we might inch along, holding to the rod and heading home.
Mankind has built many structures that have been known as “Wonders of the World.” The Great Wall of China, the Great Pyramid of Giza, Rome’s Coliseum, and others have topped this list. But I think they are less remarkable than the miracle of mankind itself, being led by God to say what the entire world needs to hear. It is far more amazing to me, that people develop talents they didn’t even know they could approach-and then use them to bless their fellowman. These are the achievements that transcend physical beauty and approach spiritual glory. No contest.
Truly man is God’s crowning achievement, a far greater miracle than any of earth’s awesome beauties. And this makes me extrapolate from our leaders to everyone around us, people whose potential may not be realized, yet who are children of Deity with the seedlings and inheritance of enormous personal triumph in their DNA. I have long suggested that we should look at the strangers we see every day-in the supermarket, on the freeway, in the workplace-and realize that every one of them has a Patriarchal Blessing waiting for them. No one slips below God’s radar, no one is exempt from the atoning sacrifice of the Savior. Loved, cherished, hoped for- every single human being is a brother or sister with the chance to succeed here on earth, and Heavenly Father wants every one of them back.
The missing ingredient for most of those who have given up, those who feel lonely or discouraged, is love. And we have the ability to extend it, from an endless supply, to every soul we meet. We can teach them of Christ and His Father, of their boundless love and availability. Just reaching out to that one person can start the process. Think of it: Every person you meet is a hidden wonder of this world, and just hasn’t been loved into greatness, yet. We are surrounded by miracles in the making.
Be sure to read Hilton’s blog at jonihilton.blogspot.com.
Her book, “FUNERAL POTATOES-THE NOVEL” (Covenant Communications) is in LDS bookstores everywhere.
And her latest three novels, “JUNGLE,” “SISTERS IN THE MIX,” and “PINHOLES INTO HEAVEN” are all available in paperback at Createspace.com, or Kindle at www.mormonbooksandauthors.com.
Listen (and call in) to The Joni Hilton Show, streaming live on AM-1380 Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. PST.
Hilton has written 20 books, three award-winning plays, and is a frequent public speaker and a former TV talk show host. She is also the author of the “As the Ward Turns” series, “The Ten-Cow Wives’ Club,” and “The Power of Prayer.” Hilton is a frequent writer for “Music & The Spoken Word,” many national magazines. She is married to TV personality Bob Hilton, is the mother of four, and currently serves as Relief Society President in her ward in northern California. She can be reached at her website, jonihilton.com, Twitter:@JoniHilton, and Facebook: Joni Hilton.