My family of nine just moved from Arizona to Utah in a three week whirlwind of hard work and blessings. We listed our house for sale November 1, received an offer November 2, accepted it November 5, signed the paperwork November 21, and moved November 23. It was intense.
This whole move felt impossible. I told my children to watch for miracles, because God was asking us to do impossible things, and that meant there would be miracles…and there were. I can’t begin to list them all, but the fact that I am currently sitting in my living room in Orem is proof that there were miracles.
Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
I have learned that miracles often come in the same way, and we don’t always recognize them as the blessings they are because all we can see is the work involved. This great blessing - and we still don’t know the extent of the blessing, but trust it will unfold in time - came about through lots and lots (and lots) of work, but as we moved forward in faith, we were strengthened and blessed to do more than we could do on our own. That was a miracle.
After the Israelites returned to Jerusalem, they rebuilt their homes and put their lives back together, but waited to rebuild the temple. The Lord chastened them, warning them to consider their ways. He instructed them to “Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.” (Haggai 1:2-8)
Then the people “obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord.” And the Lord was with them. (Haggai 1:12-13)
When they began to rebuild the temple, the Lord told them, “be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts:
“According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.” (Haggai 2:4-5)
The Lord was exhorting His people to move forward in faith, give their best effort, and work hard to do what they had been asked to do. He promised that as they did so, He would be with them, and they didn’t need to fear. When we are called to do hard things, this is still His exhortation, and His promise. This move required all of my strength, and all the work I could do, and as I put aside my fears and actively chose to trust in the Lord, He was with me, and He strengthened me. I did have fear, but I had to choose faith instead, over and over again, and then I could do what I was given to do.
I also found peace and strength in the temple. I love the Lord’s words to Haggai: speaking of the temple, He said, “and in this place will I give peace.” Isn’t that a beautiful summary of what we find in the temple? So many times when I was struggling with overwhelm and fear at the impossible task before me, I went to the temple and found peace. I didn’t always find all the answers to my problems, but I found the strength to keep going, and my heart was calmed and comforted. I am so grateful for the peace God gives in the temple as we come to commune with Him. He is calling us there, so He can give us peace.
I pray that we will all take the opportunity to consider our ways, to be strong and do the work we are called to do, and to go to the house of the Lord where He is ready and waiting to give peace to those who will seek Him there. He wants to bless us, but we have to be willing to put the work and the time in to receive the blessings He has already prepared for us. When we do so, we will be able to do all we are asked to do, for He will be with us.