When I was a young man, English was not my strong point. Syntax, sentence structure, and language rules were a bit of a mystery to me. I could read and write as well as the next guy, I suppose, but don’t ask me to diagram a sentence or explain grammar terminology. Then I had an amazing teacher who for me turned the light on.
His way of teaching connected with my needs and his efforts literally helped shape my life. In our class, we studied the regular principles of grammar that had somehow escaped me. Slowly, metaphors, adverbs, and dangling participles all became understandable and clear.
Similarly, we learn line-upon-line in life and continue to have moments of particular clarity. The old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” refers to the notion that images reveal insights and communicate information where otherwise lengthy prose would be required.
Pictures Often Clarify More Than Words
Even complex ideas are understood quickly and easily with pictures. And the Lord Jesus Christ Himself used experiences that were pertinent and telling for the people at that time in order to drive home true principles and points of doctrine. The pictures and experiences he drew in people’s minds were memorable. He both clarified and veiled his teachings with parables. So simple a child can understand yet profound enough for the wise, the parables of Jesus are a priceless source of gospel truths.
Teaching in parables allowed Jesus to reveal great truths to those who were spiritually in tune, and at the same time, conceal or hide those truths from those who were not ready for them. His life was spent ministering to the people of the (old world) on numerous occasions by healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, and even raising the dead. Those miracles were wonderful for the people of that time, but they have not ceased in our day.
Miracles continue to follow those that believe. God’s works are never frustrated. Some may say “I am not blind or lame or halt or maimed and today we have fine doctors, immaculate hospitals, and medical knowledge that were not available at that time.” True. Many of us are alive and well today, because of the revealed truths and wonderful advancements in the medical field. And though we do not have remedies for all our physical ailments, the Lord has revealed veracities that have helped minimize that pain and suffering to an extent. But let’s not miss the greater metaphor applicable to all of us. While Jesus Christ can and does heal physical ailments of those in need according to his works, wisdom, and good pleasure, he also allows us to learn valuable lessons. Just as a kind parent does not attempt to remove every obstacle from his child’s way, the Lord allows us to experience hardship for our benefit. It’s part of the Great Plan of Happiness. Through his Atonement, he also heals all men from the afflictions of sin and death and separation from God from which we alone cannot extricate ourselves. (2 Ne 9:19-24)
And that is the wonderful message of the great plan of happiness through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. With a broken heart and contrite spirit we give our best to the Lord and live abundantly with hope. And that is a metaphor worth both remembering and repeating.
I love President Gordon B. Hinckley’s recollection following the renovation of the Mesa Arizona Temple some years ago. In response to the question “What is the symbol of your religion?” he stated, “I replied that the lives of our people must become the most meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship.”
Our current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson recently reminded us “We are the Lord’s hands.”
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.