We Saw Him (part 19)

kenneth cope - FaceToFace-cover

(Continued from last week…)

These will be the last two stories in this series of posts regarding those who witnessed the Savior that I will share. Next week I will follow up with some concluding thoughts.

Young boy from Utah
This boy was born with a genetic condition causing the muscles of the body to gradually get weaker. Because of this he had never walked but had spent all of his life confined to a wheelchair and in constant pain and discomfort. His pain was not just physical, but emotional as well. He had a very hard time watching other children his age do things he could not do. He felt very left out and alone. Because of his condition he developed severe scoliosis and a surgery was performed to straighten his spine by putting rods in his back. These rods would then be lengthened every six months, as he grew, so that he could grow like other boys and his lungs could expand. Surgeries were also performed to cut the tendons in his hips and knees so that his legs would straighten. The down side to all of this was the constant pain of having rods in his back, daily physical therapy for his legs, and surgeries twice a year until his body was fully grown, at which time permanent rods would be inserted. He had a lot of bad days and sad days wondering why he was born and why he had to go through all of this pain. He always knew to whom he could turn and he developed a great love for his heavenly Father and Savior. Once, when he was about nine or ten-years-old, he had the following experience:

“I was having a bad day and I wanted to go and pray! When I was in bed I said my prayers and told Heavenly Father my feelings. A couple of hours later, I saw a huge bright light—it was so bright…the whole room lit up—and I knew that it was Jesus. He called me by name and said to me that it was okay and that I would be with them soon. He then told me that when I would die that I would see a bright light and I was to go to that light and that someone would be there to meet me. I felt happy and the Spirit was so strong. When He spoke to me I did not see His lips moving but I heard His voice in my mind and my heart. I felt his words. His voice felt soft, really comfortable in my heart. I felt so good. It was incredible!

“I remember being kind of confused at first. It’s a really slim chance that someone gets to meet Jesus in this life. It was fascinating that this slim chance had happened to me.”

Teenage boy from Arizona
“When I was growing up I did not have a good childhood. My father was quite abusive on many levels and there were many times I wanted out! I prayed often for relief, for an end to it all.

“I was a good kid but I wasn’t perfect. I tried to do what was right but I could have been better. I loved the Lord and loved learning about the gospel. But an experience I had changed me. One night, when I was about fifteen-years-old, as I slept I remember finding myself in a room that was pure white. There were others in the room besides me and all were dressed in white robes. I did not see their faces but we were all standing waiting for something. It was then that a being entered the room, and although I did not see His face, I knew instantly by the power of the Spirit that this was the Savior. His spirit was so strong that we all fell to our knees. I will never forget that feeling! As I knelt He came by me and, touching me on the shoulder, asked me to stand. I stood, His arm around my back with His hand on my right shoulder. He then asked me a question, a question I will never forget. It was so simple, and yet, so powerful, so profound. It has changed my life. He simply asked, in a kind, loving, and soft voice, ‘What have you done?’ It was asked in a voice filled with love…no anger, no judgment, no harshness, simply love. I felt how much He loved me. Everything I had done to that point filled my mind. All things, both good and bad. All of my life, to that point, passed before my eyes in one second. It was as if He was asking me to remember all the good and bad I had ever done or thought so that I could be better! No hint of condemnation, just love! It was then that I woke up. The spirit was so strong that I could not move for several minutes. I felt weak. I didn’t want to move for fear that the feeling would go away. After a few minutes I regained my strength but the power of His voice and the power of His question has never left me.

“This experience has had a profound impact on me. It has been a source of strength and comfort to me over the years because I know that the Savior lives. I know it. As I breathe I know it. And even though there have been many hard and difficult times in my life, times that I have wanted to quit and give up, I knew that I never could because I know, as the sun rises, that He lives. I cannot and will never forget the feel of His arm around me and the love I felt in a sacred place when I heard Him speak my name and when I felt of His love. When the scriptures say that ‘God is love,’ I testify that it is true.”

(to be concluded next week)

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