A number of years ago, our son who was four years old at the time was involved in a serious road accident away from home. After a week or so in hospital he was able to be transferred the 200 miles (320 kilometres) to our local hospital. When we arrived home, there was a note through our door from a loving and caring ministering sister with details of who would collect our other four children from school, who would provide meals and who would do our laundry. During the subsequent five weeks our son remained in hospital, my wife gave birth to our youngest son. With a son in one end of the hospital, a wife and new baby in the other end, four children to care for, and a full-time job to fit in, we would not have coped without the significant help given to us by our fellow ward members. How grateful we were for their selfless ministering. We know that the common question ‘can we do anything to help?’ is always sincerely offered, but this wonderful, thoughtful sister went the extra mile, anticipated our needs and ministered accordingly.
In Luke 4:18, the Saviour is reading Isaiah’s prophecies about His own coming and His mission here on earth. It reads,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” (See Isaiah 61:1)
In our society today, there are many who are brokenhearted; at the breakup of family relationships or other challenges. There are many who are captive; to addictions, to depression or discouragement. There are many who are blind, especially to the peaceful truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And many are bruised by the disappointments of life.
In 3 Nephi 18:32 we read, “Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.”
Can you imagine a more exciting blessing, to work in partnership with the Saviour to heal the afflictions of those around us and to be an instrument in their salvation?
Some while ago, I went to visit my son who was studying in Rexburg, Idaho. He, his wife and I went out to dinner at a restaurant where people stand in line to get served. It was full of students, excited for graduation and the end of the semester. I noticed a young lady come in by herself, looking somewhat lonely and overwhelmed by the noise and activity around her. I felt prompted to invite her to sit with us. As she got her food, she walked by us and made her way to a table by herself. At that moment, I thought, ‘oh, she’ll think I’m strange if I invite her to sit with us,’ and I let the prompting pass. I remember waking up about 2.30am the following morning thinking ‘what if she had really needed our help and friendship?’. I got out of bed onto my knees and prayed that someone else might help her where I had failed. I also determined then that I would try never to let that kind of prompting or the opportunity to lift another pass again.
I invite each of us to reach out to others at every opportunity, to lift, strengthen and minister with love. In doing so, we fulfil the sacred covenant we made at baptism to stand as His witness, to be His hands in the healing of those in need.