“No One Understands Me”

“No One Understands Me”

One day I was working in my office when I heard a clear voice in my mind saying that I should go and visit with a member of a branch in the district where I served as president. On that day I had only one thousand Naira (about six dollars) in my bank account. For me to get to that member, I needed to use the money to put fuel in my car. A few days prior to that day, a member of my branch had left the church because of some argument in one of the classes. Since I didn’t need to really spend money to walk to their home, I decided to save my money and go to the one closer rather than visit the member whom I had been inspired to see.

I made my visit but as I was walking back to my office I heard the voice again “That was not where I sent you”.  I decided immediately to obey strictly. I drove down to the place and with the help of the branch president I found the brother in his shop. It was a dirty environment because of the kind of work he did. I sat with him, helping him with the work, a gesture he resisted as he thought I would soil my hands and clothes.  But I insisted and we began talking.

As we talked about family, work and church it seemed my objective of visiting was not really clear either to me or the brother.  I asked him about his fatherly role in the home- particularly how he exercised the priesthood he had.  His answers did not satisfy the burning in my mind.

I began to pray silently in my mind that the Lord would reveal to me exactly the reason why He sent me to that place that day. Immediately my whole being was filled and I could sense a change in my thinking. I asked him to look straight into my eyes and said to him “My brother, I do not know why I am here, but a voice spoke to me that you had something to share with me.  I have learned to recognize that voice and obey it, and each time I have, it has always been right. Please, what is it that I should share with you?” 

Immediately his countenance changed, and as tears dropped from his eyes, he said “No one understands me.  I am in deep trouble.” He paused and looked at me and I gestured that he should continue. He said “I have an addiction that is destroying my life. I feel helpless and my family is suffering. I can’t help myself.”  I was speechless and prayed silently, “Lord what am I to do?”

I held his hands and assured him that even though others do not understand him including myself, there is a Father in Heaven, and that His Son Jesus Christ really understands all of us. He is ever willing to encircle us in the arms of His mercy and lead us through the thorny path until we arrive at safety. I assured him that if he would trust in God, all would be well.

In the Doctrine and Covenants, we find the Savior’s instruction to Oliver Cowdery, “..Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.”  (D&C 6:20)

We talked about responsibility, accountability, repentance, forgiveness and other gospel principles. He accepted my invitation to fast and pray for three days as well as other follow up actions.  I enlisted the help of his branch president and a district high councilor. In the days that followed, a calling was extended to this brother and a visit to the environment surrounding the temple was arranged.  Changes in him became evident. His wife was very grateful and his children loved the father they now had.

Many in our congregations need personal attention from leaders. This is what shepherding means in the way the Master taught it.  Ministering one by one until each heart is touched. I know that He cares for us all and is the only one who has capacity to understand all our circumstances. As we rely on Him, our cares will be taken care of.