My wife loves to go house hunting.
Parade of Homes, she’s there. New homes being built in our neighborhood; she has been through all of them. DIY network probably includes some of her favorite shows, and with good reason. She has done a remarkable job both on our home and with my family. The other day, she asked me to go with her to look at a couple homes under construction. One she liked; the other, not so much.
Elements of one, she preferred a lot, and perhaps the other has some less desirable features. It occurred to me while we were looking that despite the various structures—walkout basements, porches, windows, theater, utility rooms, kitchens, and master suites—the workers put hammer to nail and saw to blade, and they all end up with the architect’s goal in mind, because they followed a plan.
I have a friend in the construction industry who has worked on many church buildings. He is a contractor, and his team built the temple in Nigeria. They are currently working on the business sector near the Philadelphia temple. The structure they are completing now is a 32-story tower and will feature 258 apartments, 13 townhouses, and street-level retail.
This noble work produces much good for many who depend on these skills for housing and business accommodations, and towering structures and bridges whose immensity and complexity boggle the mind. The differences in all these structures are many, but they are similar in that they all follow a plan. And the outcome is assured as long as the plan is followed. Whether you are building a skyscraper or a playhouse, whatever the objective is, they all have a plan. And so do we.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
These principles not only apply to constructing buildings, the same principles apply to our lives. If we follow the plan, we end up with result envisioned by the architect. We too have a plan. It is the Great Plan of Happiness. And because it was designed by the Architect of this universe, all we have to do is follow the plan, and we too will achieve the goal that is meant just for us.
Let’s talk about the plan, because once we know and understand it, we really already know the ultimate outcome, and in this case our destiny. I would like to begin by sharing with you a true story.
My father was a self-taught carpenter. He and my mother have a love for the classic, and we would often find them rummaging around warehouses of antiques or restoring furniture to its former brilliance. It was hard work, but I think they felt a measure of joy taking something lost and largely forgotten and restoring it to its optimum beauty. This also included ancient, old houses that were restored to their finest. We bought a small home on 33rd East in Salt Lake City, Utah.
I remember helping to demolish and clean elements of the structure. There must have been six or seven layers of flooring including carpet, linoleum, and tile before we discovered the hardwood floor base. I remember that in our minds that was a great find and happy surprise. But even then the floor had to be cleaned and stripped and polished before it again showed its brilliant luster.
What I remember about this building is that with a lot of work, what started out as a forgotten lot and musty old structure soon became a beautiful, warm, inviting home that was really intended as an antique shop. But I never felt like I was in a store. It felt more like a comfortable residence. Country curtains, braided rugs, classic treasures, and well-tended gardens made visitors feel like they were in the countryside.
In addition to the ornate decorations and hometown feel, my father took the old furniture, trunks, desks, tables, lamp posts, and hall trees and restored them to their original beauty, maybe even better than their original form. Each room sang with notes of history, melody of renewal, a symphony of appreciation, and swell of emotion. Their adoration for the classic was revealed in every piece they lovingly adopted. I know it was hard for them to see their work eventually sell, because they had sacrificed more than time and effort. This was another extension of their family, a manifestation of their wonderful lives and contribution to society. Is that too high of praise? I think not.
So what does this all mean and why is it of any significance to you and me and our families and loved ones? Because the Grand Architect of our eternal lives has a blueprint for you and for me, if we will but choose to follow him, the plan is the ultimate restoration and climactic ascent of our existence. As long as we are willing to show humility and have faith to obey him and accept the gift he has already won for us, we too will be restored and exalted to our ultimate potential with God.
23 The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame. Alma 40:23
So what is that potential?
President Uchtdorf gives us a glimpse in the following account.
The things we hope for are often future events. If only we could look beyond the horizon of mortality into what awaits us beyond this life. Is it possible to imagine a more glorious future than the one prepared for us by our Heavenly Father? Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we need not fear, for we will live forever, never to taste of death again. Because of His infinite Atonement, we can be cleansed of sin and stand pure and holy before the judgment bar. The Savior is the Author of our Salvation.
And what kind of existence can we hope for? Those who come unto Christ, repent of their sins, and live in faith will reside forever in peace. Think of the worth of this eternal gift. Surrounded by those we love, we will know the meaning of ultimate joy as we progress in knowledge and in happiness. No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations.
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.
Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.
Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.
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.