There is something incredibly appealing about hard work. The kind that makes me sweat and my muscles burn and my breath run shallow. And it's more than just endorphins or feeling a rush of adrenaline. It's a spiritual feeling that I've done something well.

This week definitely entailed hard work. I have blisters on my hands and my body is incredibly sore. I sleep like a rock. And yet, at the same time, I feel more enabled than anything. Right now, I feel like I could do anything. Maybe that's the power of hard work - it empowers me to do and accomplish more in my life.

Hard work isn't restricted to digging postholes or laying pipe, though... everything in life is symbolic. And if I look at the sheer effort required in physical labor, it makes me suddenly cognizant of the amount of effort that it could take... or should take to develop a personal relationship with God, or to receive answers to prayers, or to accurately speak or write with the Spirit. If it will take a long time and a lot of effort to develop that relationship, am I willing to make the spiritual effort?

This afternoon I was sitting in Sacrament meeting, thinking about my life. Wondering about how I could improve and what I need to do better. Each Sunday, as the Sacrament is passed, I bow my head and pray for each of you... and for the men and women in the world who desperately need the gospel and don't know how or where to find it. The people who are in excruciating pain inside... and have no one in the world to heal their wounds. For the men and women who live, like I once did, wondering how their own trials and struggles fit into the Plan that God has for them. Today I got an answer. I felt an incredible wave of love wash over me, and heard the Spirit speak to me, simultaneously hearing the words that were given to Enos and Moroni in their similar prayers:

"I will bless them. I will not leave them alone... because they are mine. I will protect them and teach them as I have taught you... because I love them as I love you... and because they are mine."

With tears streaming down my face, I realized that, at least in part, I am coming closer to the Lord. I'm finally turning to Him for guidance and trying, truly to accomplish His will. And I've finally laid everything before Him - my sins, my fears, my pride (still working on it), and my inhibitions. The first speaker got up and my conversation with the Lord continued:

"Welcome back, Mormon Guy. You're finally fully on the path - both feet moving forward."
"Yeah. I've taught people about this feeling for years. But how many years did it take me to reach this understanding? I'm just getting there now? To be able to say that I honestly and truly follow God and that He is guiding my course? So many years... and yet, somehow, He was always there, waiting for me."
"I am always waiting. My hand is always outstretched."

I know that God lives. That He sent His Son to live, die, and live again for me. That the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true Church of Christ here on the earth today... and that if I am willing to put in the effort, I can make it in this life. It will be hard work. It will be the hardest thing I will ever do - much harder than any other alternative. And it will take my entire life. But He is always waiting. And I will be happy, successful, and receive all the blessings that God has promised me... if I choose to receive them... by my actions, hard work, and my faith.
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