Sunday, November 29, 2009

Coincidence or Choreography

At church today, we had a special speaker. He talked about the many events in his life that could be considered coincidence--how his great-grandparents met each other, how he met his wife, how our church came to purchase the land that our Sacramento Temple is built on. However, his perspective was that these were not coincidences, but divine choreography.

He then shared some specific stories that took place in the Sacramento Temple. For instance, shortly before the dedication, a woman was cleaning one of the rooms in the temple. As she cleaned, she heard the dripping of water. Upon investigation, a large leak was found in the ceiling. The water had been steadily leaking for some time, and would have ruined the irreplaceable, custom sculpted carpet had not some repairmen mistakenly left a mirror flat on the floor, directly under the spot in the ceiling that had started dripping. The carpet was saved, the leak was repaired, the crisis averted.

Another story involved a large, 3-tiered chandelier that hangs in a beautiful, hand painted cupola in the most sacred room in the temple. The middle section of the chandelier was not lighting, so when the temple was closed, they took the chandelier apart to determine what the problem was. They found the wires inside were burned and blackened. Typically when an electrical problem of this nature occurs, it is accompanied by lots of damaging smoke and noxious, lingering smells. The cupola should have been blackened, the room malodorous, but neither occured. Definitely divine choreography at work.

As we drove home and discussed the idea of divine choreography, I was struck by the fact that both of these near disasters had occurred in the temple of the Lord.

It's been a rough year for our family, and not just our immediate family, but for much of my extended family as well. My sister and I have talked often about how we've had to adjust our perspective in the face of these trials. Many of us like to think (whether we admit it or not) that because we try to be good people, serve in the church and generally do the best we can, we'll be exempted from trials. Or maybe that's just what we hope for. Unfortunately, it often doesn't work out that way.

In Mosiah 7:33, a group of people is in bondage. They are told, "But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage." Later on, these people are promised deliverance from their trials. The Lord says, "Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions (Mosiah 24:13-14). I have a quote from Carol B. Thomas written next to these verses which reads, "Sometimes the Savior calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage, and calms you."

Our temples are holy places, the nearest places to heaven on earth. They are dedicated to the Lord and his purposes, just as we should be. After all, 1 Corinthians 3:16 reads, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?" The temple is not exempt from trials. We are not exempt from trials. But all our trials are in the hands of God.

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