I went to a devotional tonight. The speaker was a man named T.C. Christensen. He's a filmmaker who has produced the shows: 17 Miracles and Ephraim's Rescue, among others. His presentation was fantastic, funny and spiritually uplifting.
Brother Christensen said over and over again that, though Ephraim Hanks was not a perfect man, Brother Hanks was a man who had been prepared through life and tried to do what the Lord asked of him and that made all the difference. T.C. Christensen also said repeatedly (though not redundantly) that when we are prepared and if we're willing to try, the Lord will use each one of us to do great things.
As Brother Christensen spoke about some pioneers, and about Ephraim
Hanks in particular, I found myself drawing some parallels between those
stories and my own life. I wondered how the choices I make each day
will impact generations to come. I wondered if I use my time as effectively as I am capable of. I thought about those who have gone before me and the legacies that they've built. Brother Christensen's presentation made me wonder how my own everyday, mundane moments will impact countless others -- or if they will.
Hanks experienced many things in his own life which prepared him for the time that he would be sent to the rescue. His willingness and readiness to answer the call to help the handcart pioneers has impacted generation after generation like the ripples in a pond. I began thinking about the times in my life when I've seen miracles, the times when I've seen God's hand opening doors, guiding me through challenging lessons, and pointing out opportunities for growth. I thought about the times that the Lord has allowed me to walk through difficulties and unexpected situations so that I could develop talents and abilities I didn't know I possessed, even in embryonic form.
These thoughts led to more questions. Have those times been in preparation for my own opportunities to answer the Lord's call to His service? How will that preparation impact my future? I found myself wondering if my own stories are of any significance and how they will possibly mean something to those who may hear them someday in years to come. I'm a pretty average sort of person, and it's hard to picture the things I say or do or write leaving a mark that will ripple through generations.
Brother Hanks made choices that became the hinging points that allowed families to survive and grow. Those hinging points opened the doors for the people he actually helped, but even now, several generations later, those families are still feeling the impact of his willingness to answer when the Lord called for Hanks to ride to the rescue. I don't know that I see my own life as one that will have such dramatic results. Then again, Ephraim Hanks likely didn't see his own life as one that would carry the weight of generations to come.
I questioned, if and when the time came that the Lord asked for my help, would I be willing and able to step forward and say, "I am ready now" as Brother Hanks did? Would I recognize the urgency of the Lord's request?
I'm not sure that I have an answer to these questions. I'm not sure that an answer exists. At least not in the now ... However, it has made me think a bit more deeply about some of the things I've always taken for granted. I've thought about my time, and I think there are ways that I could use it more wisely. I don't think I'm likely to be called to an urgent rescue mission as Ephraim Hanks was, but I've seen times when the Lord has opened doors for me to serve His children. Perhaps, my experiences have been preparing me to better meet those needs. Maybe, in the future, I'll better recognize the urgency of those requests, and that will be enough.
I don't know what the future holds for me ... or my children ... or those who will follow. I don't know what kind of ripples will fall forward from the choices that I make. Like Brother Hanks, I'm not a perfect person. I fall short of my own aims often enough and then some, but like Brother Hanks, I hope that I will be prepared, that I will try, and that -- with feet already set in motion -- I will answer clearly and with confidence, "I am ready now."