Today at church we had Stake Conference, where many congregations (called Wards) met together. I think our Stake has 10 congregations all together. So it was a bigger crowd than on a usual Sunday. The meeting was very uplifting, and the chance to see friends in other congregations was fun. As we sang the closing hymn, I had a life changing experience.
We had arrived late—having forgotten it was Stake Conference—and sat on the last row. My husband and son were sitting elsewhere, so I had a rare moment all to myself to enjoy the program.
The speaker was wonderful, and reminded me that I need to be working harder on my relationship with God. I felt very uplifted. And I was thrilled when the closing song was announced. It was “I know that My Redeemer Lives.” I have it memorized, and really enjoyed leaning into the harmonies.
Shortly after the song began I heard this awful sound that can only be described as someone honking. Loudly. As the song progressed it became clear that someone who was terribly tone deaf was trying to sing. But there were no distinguishable words.
From my place on the back row I could see that the sound was somewhat distracting to others in the congregation. One woman started singing at the top of her lungs to cover the sound. Some people stopped singing altogether. And more than one person was searching for the source of this unusual sound.
I soon noticed that the “honking” was only going on when we sang the chorus. By now we had gotten to the third verse, and I was hearing a few words.
“He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.”
And then I saw him. The source of the “honking,” was a sweet little five year old boy from my congregation. I know his family well. He struggles with several disabilities, including Autism and Cerebral Palsy. He rarely speaks around me, and I’ve never heard him sing before. By the last verse, I could make out his words clearly. It was obvious that he loved the song.
He knows that our Redeemer Lives
As he sang, I felt the Spirit testify to me that God loves this little soul intensely. He sang:
“He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
I was in tears. This boy knows his Savior. He loves Him. And even though it was clearly difficult for him, he wanted to sing praises to His Lord.
As the song ended, my heart was repentant. I had started the song irritated that this less than stellar performance was making it difficult to focus on the song. But I no longer tried to ignore his sounds. It was no longer appealing to join that woman to drown him out. His song was more of a testimony than any I had ever heard. And the Spirit testified to me that this boy really knows his Savior and mine. That God knows and deeply loves this boy.
I’m often too focused on myself to recognize what is going on around me. Today I learned that our individual struggles bring us closer to that God we worship. And I vowed to start looking around me for all the living testimonies in my life.
It was humbling and beautiful beyond words to begin to grasp just how wide and deep the hand of God stretches—into every life. Today He saw fit to show me some of His work. And it gave me greater understanding of just how much He loves and works for all of us.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.