Dusty Smith’s Trial of Faith

I recently found Dusty Smith’s book Trial of Faith (also by Kimiko Christensen Hammari). It sort of waved me down. It was next to a larger book at waist level on a shelf at Deseret Book in Spanish Fork. I was not having a great day but it was about to get better. Something said, “You’ll want to pick up that book.” I took it in hand and bought the intriguing little volume forthwith.

I finished reading it the next day. It moved me. Dusty’s story is not candy coated. I was amazed by his honesty. He confesses his online antagonism —bitter, hate-filled, and frequent over two decades. But then something changed and his heart started to soften. The patience, understanding, and good humor of his now good friend Mike Robertson helped a lot.

Miracles came. Many, many miracles. Miracles so convincing that they seem more real than “reality.” Like the time (starting on page 60) when Dusty was deathly ill and his son innocently let a pair of missionaries into the house when he was not up to seeing anyone.

“You’re sick,” the missionaries observed.

“I’m not just sick,” replied Dusty, “I’m dying. Now please get out of my house.”

“Can we at least give you a blessing first?”

A hinge point. “If it’ll get you out of my house, then yes.”

They gave him a blessing and this is what happened. “I felt instant relief,” he reported. “I was immediately and completely healed. My fever broke, and I was able to get out bed even though I wasn’t able to just a few minutes before. I walked the missionaries downstairs and asked them to never come back . . . [but] I was left with a nagging feeling to read my mission journal, and I kept thinking about the Church. Was God trying to tell me something? Why did the missionaries just happen to knock on my door that day?”

That’s just one of many miracles that led a man who once had a Korihor-rible (John Bytheway’s word) attitude about the Church to someone who had his testimony resurrected, was rebaptized, came back into full faith, and had his story retold in general conference. Dusty’s tale was shocking to me, eye-opening, encouraging, heart-warming, and miraculous. I highly recommend the book.

When we adopt—or readopt—God’s wisdom as the guide to our lives, our lives change, and I was changed by this amazing story. Thank you, Dusty, for your example of faith and humility. I’m grateful to have made your acquaintance through your book.

Grace and the Motor Home

Courtesy Wikicommons

A few weeks back, we were discussing grace in priesthood meeting in the homeless branch where we serve. The discussions in those meetings are some of the most energetic doctrinal conversations I have ever heard. Opinions are rarely defended and the atonement and power of grace are held up. It’s a blessing.

Anyway, one of our number raised his hand and told a story. He told of buying an old motor home and spending several days getting it in running order. When he finally got it running, and he took it for a drive, it broke down. He was stuck, by himself, on the side of the road. He didn’t know what to do. The hulking mass of steel and wood was too heavy for him to push off the road alone.

Finally, it struck him. He said to himself, “If I want help, I’d better go out there and push this motor home with all I’ve got. Then help will come my way.”

So that’s what he did. He got out and and pushed, alone. But he was only alone for five minutes. Soon two others showed up and together they were able to in the motor home off the road where it could safely repose until more help arrived.

He likened his experience to the grace of God. Yes, often, God helps us when we don’t deserve it, but more often than not, grace arrives when we are doing our best, reaching out, reaching up, giving our best.

Our plea for grace is not a Lazy-Boy-and-remote experience. We have to get up out of our chairs, if we are able. We have to put the remote down, as we must. We have to do something, as any good father would require, before we are empowered to solve a problem or receive help from others.

Grace is the power to do things, without which we could not do them. It is the power of God in our lives to take positive action. I am not saying that we can earn grace, but we certainly can hasten its arrival by getting up and doing something, in faith. Grace is a call to action.

Often but not always, sincere, devoted, prayer-guided action is the photosynthesis of grace. Grace is costly, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote. The cost is discipleship and the price is action.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8.)