Our church is located at the top of hill and it has a magnificent view of the entire valley from the parking lot and steps. The east side of Las Vegas is on the edge of the bowl that makes the valley, and while it is not the "cool" part of town, it does have the very best scenery. We can see all the way to the south where the highway cuts through the canyon on the way down to Hoover Dam. We can see the curve of the horizon to the north where the mountains open up to the Great Basin and the highway heads into the vast open spaces where the government hides Area 51. We have an unrestricted view of the stunning Red Rocks Canyon, framed by Mt. Potosi on the south and Mt. Charleston to the north. For a"barren desert," Las Vegas is blessed with remarkable natural wonders.
Now, about that advice mentioned in the title...I arrived at church to participate in a regional conference. Every stake in the entire state of Nevada, and a couple of areas in California and Arizona were all a part of a closed-circuit broadcast from Salt Lake City. At first, I was somewhat un-enthused. I actually enjoy stake conferences. I like to hear from people in my area and get their point of view and their testimonies. I wasn't sure about going to a presentation from SLC. We get to do that twice a year, and I like it. But, stake conference is sort of special. However, it was superb. The speakers were general authorities with a personal connection to Nevada, and they explained their associations. The stories that several of them used to illustrate their point were about people in various parts of our state. The life problems they each addressed, while not exclusive to Nevada, are particularly acute here right now. It was timely, personal and very spiritually nourishing. Silly me for being a crank. At least I didn't go around whining about it before-hand. Only you and I know about my reservations.
The advice, the advice...I realize that there are only a few things that God actually requires from us: obedience, acknowledgement, service. And that is what they discussed today. But, again, the way in which they addressed these timeless themes went straight to my soul:
- patience in affliction
- recognition of God's hand in all things
- the scriptures are our modern-day Liahona: when Lehi's family was rebellious, whiny and lacking in faith, the Liahona didn't work. If we are rebellious, whiny and don't consult the scriptures and God in prayer, we won't get personal revelation to guide and comfort us, either.
- our difficulties can either strengthen our faith or drive us away from God, depending on who we decide to follow: man or God
- God and Jesus Christ know us personally and care deeply: are we not more valable than many sparrows?
- patience means being willing to submit to the Lord's will and to recognize what we cannot change
- walk the walk, don't just talk the talk, of a faithful follower of Christ
So, after the meeting, I felt buoyed up and ready to face the future. I know my concerns aren't insurmountable. Some of them are a great burden to me, but I'm not carrying the burden alone. I know what to do now. I mean, I've always known, but I feel reinforced and refreshed and bright and clear as all that snow glittering on the mountains that surround me.