To Have The Wish Of My Heart

A young merchant from Boston was caught up in the fervor of the 1849 California gold rush. He sold all of his possessions to seek his fortune in the California rivers, which he was told were filled with gold nuggets so big that one could hardly carry them.

Day after endless day, the young man dipped his pan into the river and came up empty. His only reward was a growing pile of rocks. Discouraged and broke, he was ready to quit until one day an old, experienced prospector said to him,”that’s quite a pile of rocks you are getter there my boy.”

The young man replied, “There’s no gold here. I’m going back home.”

Walking over to the pile of rocks, the old prospector said, “oh, there is gold all right. You just have to know where to find it.” He picked two rocks up in his hands and crashed them together. One of the rocks split open, revealing several flecks of gold sparkling in the sunlight.

Noticing a bulging leather pouch fastened to the prospector’s waist, the young man said, “I’m looking for nuggets like the ones in your pouch, not just tiny flecks.”

The Old prospector extended his pouch toward the young man, who looked inside, expecting to see several large nuggets. He was stunned to see that the pouch was filled with thousands of flecks of gold.

The old prospector said, “son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you’re missing filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth.”

Alma taught his son Helaman:

By small and simple things are great things brought to pass…And by very small means the Lord…brings about the salvation of many souls” Alma 37:6-7

Last summer we lost to heaven a little 4 year old grandson. His name is Wyatt, and now he is our ever present “angel giving.”  As paramedics diligently worked to revive our little boy I knelt beside his grieving / stricken parents. My repeated whispered prayer to myself was, “Thy will be done.” In my younger years Jesus taught me that this is the prayer that never fails. Over and over again…”Thy will be done.” I consider this response to be one of those flecks of gold. When tragedy, adversity, uncertainty, and all of the many challenges of life come we want to have the currency which will bless us with the confidence and trust to see rescue. To see the hand of God. To understand that the “but if not’s” in our life are not signs of Heavenly desertion. D&C 68:6 “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you” 

Our prophet said in April, “Everything good in life—every potential blessing of eternal significance—begins with faith. Allowing God to prevail in our lives begins with faith that He is willing to guide us. True repentance begins with faith that Jesus Christ has the power to cleanse, heal and strengthen us.—It is our faith that unlocks the power of God in our lives.”

How about this awesome story In Luke 22— “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, “satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knows me.” Of course Peter reassures him that he will be “true to the faith.” How could he not be? Peter has spent the better part of three years at the Master’s side. If ever there was a first-hand eye witness to the divinity of the Savior it was Peter.  

And here is another golden fleck… If Peter can mess up something this big so can we. The beautiful relatable part of this story is a message of repentance, forgiveness and rededication. Brothers and sisters, the last chapter of our earthly sojourn has not been written. We are being sifted as chaff from the wheat, and we can readily see the sifting going on all around us. Our mistakes can be instructive and we can “know better and do better.” Jesus’ prayer for Simon is his prayer for us….”that thy faith fail not.”

Elder Holland spoke so well to this idea when he said, “So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we.”  

Throughout my life Jesus, our Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost have been True to my faith. When sorrow, grief, disappointment, physical injury and pain appear; I take my broken self to our Faithful Heavenly Father, and the Godhead has offered relief. Not always immediately. At times I have been required to struggle, wait, seek, wait some more, and fast. But, I have never felt alone for long.  The Godhead has been True to my Faith.

Our testimonies are so precious. Through the years I have heard them compared to “embers that need to be continually stoked.”  We must feed the fires with our desire to be “unshaken.” Enos and Jacob, son and father, both used this phrase, “I could not be shaken” when speaking of their testimonies. That condition really is the desire of my heart. 

In 1947 Vilate Raile wrote this short little poem…

They cut desire into short lengths
And fed it to the hungry fires of courage. 

Long after—when the flames had died— 

Molten Gold gleamed in the ashes. 

They gathered it into bruised palms 

And handed it to their children
And their children's children. Forever. 

We value truth and goodness wherever it is found and my faith is firmly planted in what I have already tried and tested.  Flecks of gold also abound within other cultures, nations and faiths. I want to keep my heart and mind open to additional light and knowledge. I am willing when led by the Spirit to “come and see.” How exciting and appropriate it is that actively seeking after anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy concludes the Articles of Faith.

What if our joy, our smiles, our kindness, our generosity, our confidence in Him was so big and bright and bold that being “true to the faith” was not viewed as a burden or hardship, but diligently collecting gold flecks to be scattered generously wherever we are.

Elder Holland reminds us, “The size of your faith or the degrees of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know.”

Elder David B. Haight told this story…

A few years ago, Arturo Toscanini was musical director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in New York City he had a Saturday afternoon radio broadcast. And one day he received in his mail a crumpled little note on some brownish paper which read:

“Dear Mr. Toscanini, I am a lonely sheepherder in the mountains of Wyoming. I have two prized possessions: an old violin and a battery radio, and my violin is so out of tune I can’t play it anymore. Would you please sound an A next Saturday on your program?”

The next week on the program, Arturo Toscanini announced: “To a newfound friend in the mountains of Wyoming, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra is now, all together and in unison, going to sound a perfect A.” And they sounded the perfect A. Then that lonely little man was able to tune the A string and then the E string and the D and the G from that perfect A.

So here we are tonight on a toasty Saturday evening. As friends, neighbors, disciples and triers listening for that perfect A… reflecting on many stories of ordinary people…collecting flecks of gold, offering the prayer that never fails, remembering Simon Peter who so perfectly demonstrated “the sun will rise and I will try again,” and a lonely fella in Wyoming reaching out in his desire to play music in those mountains, and a kindness rendered by Arturo Toscanini that was heard around the world. 

Our faithfulness is the legacy that matters. 

May we always remember and hold sacred the testimonies of those who have gone before as well as those flecks of gold we have collected, when our Father, His Son and the Holy Ghost have been true to our faith. And may we diligently stoke the flames forever more so that with our bruised palms we can offer molten gold to our children and their children’s children forever.

On Saturday, June 5, 2021 I gave this talk at our evening Stake Conference. 


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