Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I believe in Christ; he is my King!
With all my heart to him I’ll sing;
I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.
These words, from a hymn text written by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, are a powerful reminder to the Latter-day Saints of the testimony of this special witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. On Friday, 19 April 1985, Elder McConkie, 69, died of cancer in Salt Lake Citv. Less than two weeks earlier, he had risen from his sickbed to bear his final testimony of the Savior in general conference: “I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son.”
We had our Stake Conference last Sunday. A former Stake President of ours related a story about Elder Bruce R. McConkie. Fifteen years after his death his wife told this story in a sacrament meeting. Elder McConkie did not want to die and he had done everything he could to live. He was so ill for conference that his doctor said to his wife that she had a dying man here and could not let him go, that he would surely pass out at the podium on national television in front of tens of thousands of people. He told his wife that he felt he must go to bear witness again of Jesus Christ, and so he did. Those of us old enough to remember will never forget his amazing testimony. It is still one of the most poignant memories I have of general conference. Even to almost the very last he would get dressed every day and try to function. Just before his death he asked Elder Packer to give him a blessing. Elder Packer blessed him (and I am paraphrasing) to stop fighting the will of the Lord. After he left Elder McConkie asked his wife if she knew what had just happened. She said that yes, he has just sealed you to death. Elder McConkie then immediately went into his bedroom, folded the bedspread as he always did, put on his pajamas, and there he stayed until he died. In that act he had completely yielded his will to that of his Heavenly Father.
As many of you know, ten years ago just two months after my son died, I had open heart surgery for a large hole in my heart. Many of the doctors and nurses asked if I’d had children and were amazed that I had five healthy deliveries. They said I could have had a heart attack or stroke each time I gave birth. The first wife of an older gentleman in our ward died from a stroke at the age of forty because of a hole in her heart, which doctors could not repair at the time. When she gave birth to their only son she did have a heart attack and the baby’s oxygen was cut off. Though the baby lived he had severe brain damage---yet I lived, and my babies were healthy.
I have had so many instances of small strokes or T.I.A.’s. Some were so frightening that I knew, I really knew, that something was terribly wrong with my body. From the most severe of these episodes I could literally feel myself slipping, being pulled away and I wondered if this way my time to die, yet I lived. And during this talk I asked the question, “Why did I live?” The thought immediately came that for now I was “sealed to live” that the Lord wants me to LIVE!
I don’t get up very early in the morning. I haven’t found a really good reason to these past ten years. As I listened to this story I had the thought that if the Lord wants me to live, then I should show the same faith as Elder McConkie. Instead of remaining in my pajamas till late in the morning, that I should dress right away for the day because the Lord wants me to live! I don’t know why. I live a very ordinary life. But I do live! And I have the thought that maybe---just maybe if I get dressed and I’m ready, the Lord might have some good I can do each day. So this is my resolution, and I’m telling all of you so that you will encourage me to get ready for each day early and listen for the whisperings of the spirit that I might be directed to do some small good.
Well, I did it this morning! Yes, I was dressed before I published this and all morning I have been singing “Have I Done Any Good In The World Today.”