I was hungry

In a previous post, I spoke about a scary experience that happened while I was in New York. But the story did not end there. The Lord saw the need to continue to teach me that day.

I’m so glad I went to the temple that day because it helped reset it. I was bound and determined to not let it ruin the rest of my day. After all, it was my best friend’s 40th birthday, and we had a full day of fun planned. We were going to see a Broadway show that got out relatively late. We knew we would be taking the subway very late at night but I wasn’t scared or nervous because I was with friends this time. Admittedly I was apprehensive but wasn’t willing to let it stop me because I knew that Lord was watching over us.

As we stepped into the subway car, I noticed a homeless man who had no legs, and it looked as though he also could not see. He had a cup before him, hoping someone would give him money. At that moment, the verse from Matthew 25:35 came into my mind. “I was hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in.” I acted on that prompting, reached into my wallet, pulled out some cash, and put it in the cup. To my surprise, many people followed me and did the same. I don’t share this to receive accolades; I share it because it is part of what the Lord taught me that day.

The two great commandments are to love God and man. It would have been easy for me to assume the worst of this gentleman on the subway because of what happened to me that morning. I’m guilty of generalizing people, places, or things based on previous experience. In fact, it is part of being human to do this. But when we do this, we can miss out on things because we base everything on previous experiences.

I have no idea why this homeless man lost his legs and ended up on the streets. I felt only love for him because he is one of God’s children. I also have no idea why the guy who was high on drugs and tried to assault me ended up on the subway. As much as I wanted to stay angry at him, I no longer felt the anger I had felt towards him from earlier that day. The Lord taught me a lesson of love, mercy, and grace that day. So many people in this world were born into circumstances that are difficult because of someone else’s free agency. Many times no mercy and grace will ever be extended to them in their lifetime. I’m not saying we all need to go out and give money to people experiencing homelessness. I’m simply saying that to love God and man might mean we need to extend mercy and grace even when it feels difficult. I can tell you that when I knew I needed to give money to that man, I also had an internal debate about not giving him the money. Ultimately I followed the promptings I received from the Lord.

That temple visit that day was my 30th visit. As a result of my temple visits, I could feel myself becoming closer to the Lord in all my deeds and words. For me, the temple has been a place of refuge, knowledge, guidance, peace, and so much more. But many of these defining moments did not come right away. I’m ashamed to say that I am not sure I would have given money to that man had I not been on such a spiritual trek.

That day I learned many things, but first and foremost, I realized that we can’t let them define us regardless of what has happened in our lives, good or bad. The adversary wants us to be angry and mad and hold onto those feelings. Take it from me. IT IS NOT WORTH IT. I spent so much time holding a grudge. The only person in my life who it hurt was me. As a result of this, I was stumped spiritually for a long time.

One of the reasons why I would not go to the temple was because I was intimidated and afraid I would make a mistake. I look back now and realize that was from from the truth. My current bishop said something that has continued to stick with me day in and day out. He referenced the church, but what he said is relevant to the temple. He said, “When you feel like you don’t want to go to church, that isn’t the Lord who is putting those thoughts in your head. He would never tell you not to go to church. He wants you there.” The Lord would never put those thoughts that the temple is scary or intimidating in our heads. It is the adversary; he doesn’t want us there because he doesn’t want us to remain on the covenant path. If he can stop or slow our progress, he will do whatever it takes to derail us. Don’t let him win.

When I look back on this experience that day, it makes me happy and sad. Happy because of the lessons I learned. Sad because I spent so much of my life missing out on the Lord teaching me because I was stuck in a cycle of anger. I saw myself in both of those individuals that day. The first man was a slave to drugs who did everything he could to make others miserable around him because of his unhappiness and choices. In the other man, I saw myself because now I am hungry to be the Lord’s servant. However, that may look. I want to be fed by the Lord through His apostles and prophets. My cup is constantly able to be filled as I attend the temple, go to church, listen, or watch conferences. We are hungry and need to be fed by the Lord. We choose to open our hearts to do so; in turn, we can help those around us also to be fed by the good word of God.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *