30 Nov 2013 Miracles and Tender Mercies
 |  Category: Miscellaneous

A Miracle and Tender Mercy

It occurred in conjunction with our Statewide Stake Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on November 16-17.

That Sunday morning began like most Sundays for me with some early morning (6am!) meetings as part of my responsibility in the Married Student Stake, an ecclesiastical unit for BYU-Hawaii families.  Unlike most Sundays, though, this was Stake Conference.  And, more unusual yet, the general session of Conference was a broadcast from Salt Lake City that would include several Church leaders.

After finishing meetings I got home and suggested we attend the married students’ broadcast, rather than our home Ward’s.  This would allow us to be together and still fulfill my calling in the Married Stake and provide an easier atmosphere for our children to watch and listen (HAH – this is worthy of a separate entry but will have to suffice with the clear impression from the Lord to my wife – I was not there, keep reading – that in this case it would have been better for us NOT TO BE THERE than to be an IRREVERENT DISTRACTION to others).  Moreover, it would allow students to see me with the entire family (oops, that didn’t work out as I’d imagined!), which I think is valuable for young married couples.

So we showed up at the building, sang an opening hymn, prayer, and so forth.  The time came for the broadcast to begin… and… (drumroll)…

Silence.  Darkness.  The screen remained dark and the speakers silent.

Instead of Prophets, we heard questions from kids about when the “movie” would begin.  With growing dread, I slipped out of the pew and headed to the tech-guru, our Stake Technology Specialist.  He was already investigating the satellite receiver.  No signal.  Uh-oh, not good.  Danger, Will Robinson!

He got on the phone and discovered a secure internet feed was available for just such emergency purposes – yes!  Now we needed to locate some laptops, as we were broadcasting to two separate chapels in the same building.  We quickly located one laptop and (eventually) got it working such that members in that chapel could see.  Sadly, only later did we get an audio cable, so the sound for much of the meeting was the rinky-dinky speakers with the pulpit microphone placed as close as possible… a bit tinny, but better than nothing.

Meanwhile, in the other chapel, another laptop was located but, alas, this was a Macbook which requires a special, proprietary video connector (curse you Apple!).  Knowing I had one at my office, which is a nearby campus building, I went to retrieve it.

Now for the miracle.  Read on, it’s a good one.

As  I ran/jogged/panted/crawled/nearly died (hey, I’m a computer person, not an athlete!) to my office, I remembered that I’d left my office keys and other items at home, after my meetings when I got the family.  Uh-oh.  I didn’t expect the building would be unlocked but decided to try, anyway, instead of going home to get the keys.  I hoped for a miracle.

I got inside the building with my key card but, as expected, the interior doors were locked and needed a physical key.  Darn.  OK, time to check the exterior doors that provide entry into the main part of the building.  Nope, no luck, strikes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Meanwhile my dear wife was left with our six young children who were now quite bored and restless in the chapel as there was nothing to be done.  Does anything strike more fear into the hearts of parents – or those (un)fortunate enough to be nearby – than six restless kids, particularly the Smith kids?

The Stake Presidency Counselor had wisely gotten a pianist and chorister to play primary hymns to maintain the Spirit (and distract the kids) but they’d already lost steam and voices by this point…

Being a woman of faith, my Saintly wife prayed and specifically asked the Lord for a miracle.  Whereas I merely hoped, she ACTED in faith.

At that moment, near as we can tell, I tried the 6th door.  This one leads directly into a classroom with 45 (expensive) computer stations and which is ALWAYS dutifully locked.  Fully expecting it to be locked – but trying and hoping anyway – it opened.  I was stunned.

I admit, my initial reaction was concern, thinking that I’d discover all the computer systems missing.  What relief, they were still there!  I then wondered which bonehead left the door unlocked and how fortunate we were there was no theft, but counted it my good fortune it opened, as I could now access my office.

I turned around to make sure the door was firmly latched behind me… and discovered the door WAS locked.  It’s a panic bar door, one that is unlocked when the bar is depressed, and locked otherwise.  It was in the locked state, no doubt.  Somehow, I’d opened a locked door!

Sensing a bit of the miracle just experienced, I was sheepishly conscious of my own shortcomings moments before.  I thought a quick prayer of gratitude, got to my office, grabbed the connector (and spare laptop, as the other, working laptop did not have its power adapter), and headed back to the Stake center.

When I entered the chapel, they had the audio feed (microphone and laptop speaker, as the other, though we did soon scrounge up some audio cables) and were most enthusiastic to have video, too!

This was a group effort, with several people working to get technology aligned quickly so the Married Student Saints could hear the Church leaders and Prophets deliver their inspired messages.  Thanks to all of you.

Only later that evening did I discover from my wife that she’d prayed for a miracle (not merely hoped for one!), and she in turn learned the Lord heard and provided an instantaneous miracle, in the form of a locked door being opened to a thoughtless but dutiful husband.

Thanks be to a kind, loving Heavenly Father that wanted His children to hear the important messages He’d inspired His chosen vessels to prepare.  How marvelous it is that ours is a God of miracles, that my wife had the faith to hope AND ASK for one and called down the powers of Heaven, and that I went forth with hope and pulled door handles, though my, faith was weak.  I’m grateful the video stream still worked later that evening so my wife and I could watch it together and hear the messages (they were awesome).  And, lastly, I’m grateful we could share this experience with our children the subsequent night during our Family Night (aka Family Home Evening, FHE), that they could also see and know the Lord’s kindness and responsiveness to faith.

Do we believe in a God of miracles?  Absolutely.  Not all prayers are answered so immediately, but answered they are.


Parenthetically, as the first instructor to use that classroom the following morning, I went to unlock the door so students could enter/exit those doors during classroom hours.  The panic bar was STILL locked and, this time, the door did NOT open or budge, not even a little.

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