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Friday, March 15, 2013

On a Wing and Prayer: How We Got to Hong Kong

I'm in Shenzhen, China as I write, about to walk over to the border crossing where we will go to the Hong Kong Temple this morning and then visit some great friends. We got here on a wing and prayer, literally. Here's the story. 
My wife and I had flights last night to Shenzhen. The airport (one of two in Shanghai) was close to the school where she teaches math, so she would go there directly after work and so would I for our evening flight. I normally bring my bag to work and go from work directly to the airport, but this time decided to leave my packed bag home and pick it up on the way to the airport since it was just a brief detour to the apartment. When I went home, grabbed my bag and a bite of food or two, I was about to leave when I remembered that I hadn't really taken time for meaningful prayer that day. I'd left in a rush and now felt like I should take a moment for real prayer. I knelt, and among other things, expressed gratitude for this opportunity to travel and asked if there was anything else I needed to do in preparing for the trip. As I did that, I had the unusual impression to go check the place where my wife keeps her passport when she doesn't need it. I got up and opened a drawer, discovering the passport that she had inadvertently left in her own rush that morning. Without the passport, she would not have boarded the plane and we would not have had time to go home and come back in time for the flight. What an amazing gift. 

We've had all sorts of little disasters in travel over the years, but are so grateful that this big disaster was averted. A relevant LDS hymn really is worth mentioning here, "Did You Think To Pray?" 'Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray? It really can make a difference in helping us to face the day better, to do more good, and to avoid not only temptation, but also occasional disaster. So grateful. 

After I put the passport in my pocket, I got on my knees again and expressed gratitude. I also asked, in my ongoing curiosity about the things of God, just how these kind of things are done. The geek in me is also deeply curious about how the physics and mechanics of "promptings" in which God somehow can help us think of something or remember something or feel we need to do something.   I'm so curious to understand how communication to our minds or spirits works, what our spirits are, and so forth. There's a world of detail about who we are and how the universe works that we haven't even began to explore. 


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cool story Jeff. Now is the important lesson for me to pray daily to keep the spirit close, or always attend the temple with a prayer in your heart or...?

Pops said...

How does it work? Think of it as "home teaching from the other side of the veil". At least that's my take from what I've read of near-death experiences, confirmed in principle by Joseph Smith and other modern-day prophets. It's also known as the ministering of angels.

Some who mock the idea these kinds of interventions in our lives do so on the basis that if God really cared, he would fix the big things and not waste time on the little things. But I've come to the conclusion that the big things are important - those are the things that we learn and grow from, even victims of war, disease, and crime. There is more to life than this mortal existence. God intervenes in the little things ("tender mercies") to let us know that he's mindful of everything in our lives, and, by definition, aware of the Goliaths we might be battling on a daily basis.

So when God - and/or those to whom our care has been in some way delegated - is aware of some way He can let us know He's still there and still cares for us, a spirit-to-spirit message is "whispered" to our souls.

Jared said...

I enjoyed reading this post. The best part is that this kind of interventions happens often for those who are striving to be followers of Christ. However, we're mostly unaware because the Lord's inspiration weaves so naturally into our own thoughts we can't always tell the difference.

Jeff says he is curious about how these things work. I suggest asking the Lord to teach you. Ask Him to show you more openly how prayers are answered. I have and was given some wondrous learning experiences.

Bonnie said...

This exact curiosity has been on my mind a great deal lately too! My father was sent to fulfill a promise the Lord made to me in providing help I needed, and it has taught me a great deal about the importance of developing our ability to communicate in love *while we're on earth* because we will need that ability even more when we are trying to work from the other side. I've wondered not so much about how we feel the prompting but even more about how someone knows we need the help that is thereafter provided. Some kind of blinking red light somewhere? I think it's because there is a well-developed "return and report" system going there. And I have to agree with Jared - it grows more and more natural as we use it more and more. Glad you had that blessing. Glad you listened to the prompting.