Elizabeth Willis Barrett………….August 2021

There is a beautiful painting of Jesus lovingly holding an African baby who obviously needs the Savior’s love.  It is painted by Liz Lemon Swindle and is a favorite of a friend of mine.  While in South Africa, she got to know the baby used as a model for the painting after he had grown up a bit.  

I had recently been talking with my friend about this painting only to see it pop up on Facebook.  For the most part, I love Facebook.  On that remarkable app, I find out all kinds of things: young friends finally marrying, old friends too soon dying, new babies being born, businesses being started, awesome places being visited.  But sometimes Facebook is just a place to say really stupid things and I am surprised by those who say them.

Such was the case with this painting.  Whoever posted it added something like these words as though Jesus were speaking them:  “Sorry little baby.  I can’t help you right now.  I have to help a rich Mormon girl find the keys to her Tesla!”

That line probably brought a chuckle to many Facebook friends.  Very clever, right?

For me, though, it made me want to clarify how I think spiritual things work.  

Of course, Jesus doesn’t help only one person at a time.  I’m sure no one really believes that.  That would be ridiculous—Him bouncing all over the world trying to decide who was most worthy of His help in any given moment.  That would leave a vast majority of us waiting for spiritual help that would never come. 

And, to be truthful, I’ve prayed to find keys many times.  Not keys to a Tesla, but keys to a 20 year old Lexus.  And I’ve never felt that the powers that be were too busy to help me even though my request was very mundane compared to the true needs in the world. 

Great spiritual power is available to each of us.  Some may call it the Holy Ghost or the Light of Christ or the Love of God or the Universe.   And it is vast and unlimited.  

Perhaps it is a little like electricity. Electricity can be limited at times and it can definitely fail us.  But just say for a moment that it isn’t limited and it never fails.  Whew! 

If I use electricity to light up my kitchen, it doesn’t take away from my neighbor’s ability to use electricity to light up her horse corrals.  I can even use electricity to watch a silly rom com on TV without taking away from someone across town using electricity to give a life changing presentation on the prevention of Alzheimers.  

Would any of us sit in the dark because our need for electricity isn’t as great as someone else’s? 

I prefer to think of God’s power like that—permeating the world.  We can choose to tie into that power or not.  And I believe that that power can be used to help with big problems like difficult family relations or tiny things like should I really spend this much money on a rug that I can’t find anywhere else—especially when I have done my part and tried hard to find answers on my own.

I don’t think God Himself leaves everything else to help me find the long searched for birth certificate that is needed for my passport appointment in 30 minutes, but His power is available to me and if I ask for help, often the lost item is found. 

I know that all requests aren’t granted.  Babies die, divorce splits families,  children make bad choices, fires take homes, cancer comes, the depraved are allowed to wreak havoc over innocents.   It sounds ludicrous that God would help me find a rug when He doesn’t help someone else find a child.  I know that!  Life is loaded with enormous puzzles and definite unfairness.  

But just because a parent can’t give her child a brand new Ford F-150 pickup,  does that mean the child should quit asking if she can at least get a ride to the mall?

My asking for help with insignificant things in my life doesn’t take away from anyone else’s ability to ask.  Spiritual power is unlimited and open to all of us.

It is shortsighted to only use that power for the giant things, just like it would be foolish to only use electricity when it is absolutely too dark to see without it.  

The power is there.  I choose to use it.