Burning Up

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.- [2 Tim. 3:1,17]

Over the past few weeks many significant, unexpected and unsettling things have happened, some at home [Daughter A.’s wedding was called off] and some abroad:

  • The church made changes to the bishops manual that caused a bigger stir than necessary – mostly due to misinformation and media frenzy.
  • The church provided detailed context and clarification and the “mass exodus” critics predicted didn’t actually happen.
  • Then the world was rocked by terrorism in Paris, and Beirut also (in case you didn’t notice).
  • Political chaos, what to do about refugees, homeland security, homelessness, fear…

I turned off the TV long ago. I’ve wondered what I can possibly say that adds anything of worth? I’ve felt incapable of being coherent, let alone eloquent. But, ready or not, the blog has been too quiet, and I’ve been thinking of two significant anniversaries that I think are worth talking about.

The Provo Tabernacle Fire

Five years ago, in the wee hours of December 18, 2010 one of the oldest and most beloved sacred historic buildings in Utah caught fire. By the time anyone awoke and noticed signs of trouble, the entire building was engulfed in flames. Multiple teams of firefighters rushed to the scene, but it was soon evident there was no hope to save the building and could only contain the flames from reaching other nearby buildings.

Provo Tabernacle 1

Somber crowds gathered at a safe distance, or around their television sets watching the disaster in shock and despair as the building burned to the ground, leaving only a hollow shell. The intricately crafted tabernacle was dedicated in 1883 by early pioneers after taking 15 years to complete at great personal sacrifice. It stood as a beautiful symbol to their God – a place blessed to last the test of time – where generations had worshiped in weekly Sabbath services, and then later used for special events, such as High School and College graduations, devotionals, and musical concerts.

Provo Tabernacle, Dec. 2010

Provo Tabernacle, Dec. 2010

The entire community was in mourning. People could not help wondering, “Why would God allow such a terrible thing to happen? Surely, He could have prevented the fire, or at least stopped its destruction.”

Ten months later, during the October 2011 General Conference of the church, there was an audible gasp when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the nearly destroyed tabernacle was to be rebuilt as a holy temple — a House of the Lord!

Suddenly, we could see what the Lord had always known! He didn’t cause the fire, but He allowed the fire to strip away the interior. He saw the tabernacle as a magnificent temple—a permanent home for making sacred, eternal covenants. – Linda S. Reeves

A fascinating time-lapse of this complex construction project – and resulting transformation can be watched here.

Watch a news story showing first look at the new temple here.

The new Provo City Temple as of Nov 2015, dedication slated for March 20, 2016 photo @KSLNews

The new Provo City Temple as of Nov 2015, dedication slated for March 20, 2016 photo @KSLNews

In hindsight, when the Provo Tabernacle was devoured by flames, it was not actually burning down, but “burning up” to reach its fullest potential.

The Devestating Illness

Two years ago [September] our Daughter A was given an early release from her LDS mission due to serious health concerns. We sought the best medical care, and she was progressively improving – then, on November 10th she took an unexpected turn for the worse, suddenly laying in a hospital bed unable to walk or care for basic needs. The cause of her condition? A mystery. All tests were inconclusive. All treatments the concerned doctors tried either had no effect, or actually made things worse.

2013-11hospital2

At that time, we didn’t know that we had boarded a long distance roller-coaster which would take us through unimaginable twists and turns of emotion and devestating crises – including 60 consecutive days in-patient spent in two different hospitals, multiple diagnoses given and retracted by multiple teams of doctors – only to eventually be released without any answers, cure or care plan (a case of catastrophic medical abandonment), further embroiled in a nightmare of insurance paperwork and legalities. To say we went “through the wringer” was an understatement.

2013-11hospital1

Our daughter’s life was shattered. Her “tabernacle of clay” symbolically burned to the ground, and her hopes and dreams for her future turned to ashes.

Here was a beautiful, faithful young woman, filled with goodness and light, dedicating her life 24/7 to serving the Lord, doing everything “right” – and now suffering from daily seizures, loss of mobility and freedom, needing constant care. How could God let this happen? Certainly, He could have prevented it, or at least brought us answers within days, or a cure within weeks instead of months…turning into years of suffering, searching and struggling. Why?

2013-11hospital3Today we still do not have all of the answers regarding the whys and wherefores, but we have gained so much wisdom from the experience. There have been countless miracles and tender mercies on her unexpected journey. Thanks to being led to a new treatment and countless hours of work, our daughter progressed from wheelchair, to a cane and has now fully regained her physical strength and capacities. She is seizure free. She returned to school and earned a Certified Nursing Assistant certificate. She is working and making new plans for her unlimited future. In that hospital room two years ago, none of us could have imagined today.

In hindsight, we can see that the flames of adversity Daughter A suffered were actually “burning her up” to reach greater potential.

12196275_10154352545988206_818467772538960418_n

In this life, there will be conflict, confusion, pain, death, untold sorrow and unimaginable challenges. There will be things that do not seem fair. There will be questions that will go unanswered. There will be times when everything has burst into flames and the future seems irrevocably ruined.

If you can only see ashes now, hold on! Think of the Provo Tabernacle on the day it burned down. Think of Daughter A. on the day she suddenly could not walk and was overcome by continual seizures. Think back to past struggles and heart aches you have experienced when you wondered how you would go on.

“..the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity. We have seen the lives of loved ones—and maybe our own—figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen. But He does not leave us in the ashes; He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him. He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His Spirit can dwell eternally.

– Linda S. Reeves, Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants

“Be still, and know” that there is most certainly a God. He is our loving Father in Heaven and I know with all my heart that He always can create a miracle out of a mess. Things may be burning “up” right now, but it’s the only way possible to create something more glorious than ever imagined. – MoSop

“That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.- [2 Tim. 3:1,17]

4 thoughts on “Burning Up

  1. Beautifully written.
    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 1999 and had all of those questions. Today I don’t need to know why. Because all I need to know is that Heavenly Father loves me and He knows so much more than I will probably ever understand on this side of the veil.
    Thanks for your beautiful insights.

  2. So glad to see a new post. I was starting to worry about you. Sorry to hear about the change of plans for Sister A. I know God has a plan for her life and it will be even more than she ever thought possible.

    I had seen a video about the Provo Tabernacle before. I’ll watch the video about the rebuilding.

    I don’t know if you watch The Voice. There is a young man on there this season, Jordan Smith. He’s what Adam Levine, his coach, is calling the Unicorn. He’s such an unlikely pop star. He’s from a little town in KY, he’s a worship leader in his church, he sings in the choir in college, and looks wise, he’s a bit overweight, and doesn’t look anything like you would expect a pop star to look. But, when he sings, it’s amazing. He started out by singing diva songs, think Adele and Beyonce, and in the same key they sing in. But, last week he sang a hymn and accompanied himself on the piano. The crowd went wild. He has such an effect on everyone that they can’t explain it. God is using him to touch hearts. He unseated Adele for #1 on iTunes Top 100 songs with his hymn. God uses those who are willing to serve. It matters not who you are, what you look like or what anyone else thinks. If you are faithful, God will use you for His glory. I hope you don’t mind if I enclose the video of Jordan’s performance of Great is Thy Faithfulness. It’s amazing:

    Love you Holly, Lynne

  3. I also meant to address all the “bad press” the church has had lately. I read an article about it. In today’s world no matter which stance you take, someone will find fault. I understand how hard it is to do what’s right, according to the Bible. That’s what we’re told to do, but when we actually do it, we’re persecuted for it. There is no way to keep from offending someone, so you only can do what you feel God wants you to do. Unfortunately, when it’s a church as big as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you’re going to be criticized no matter what side you fall on. The problem is, as I see it, people want to do what they want, and even if it’s condemned in the Bible, they want it to be validated by the Church. I applaud your church for standing up for their beliefs. A lot of churches are caving in to the pressure. It takes courage to take a stand for God.

    Love to all, Lynne

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