It all started with an unexpected text last Saturday morning. A friend needed a favor. He had agreed to teach a youth group only to remember later that he had another commitment. Would I be willing, he wondered, to teach in his place? After chuckling at the randomness of my showing up to teach a room of complete strangers, I said yes. But over the next couple days, I experienced the amazing true story of how the Lord communicates with us through personal revelation, even when we don’t recognize the whisperings of the Spirit guiding us along.
But before I share what happened this week and what I learned from the experience, I need to give you a little background on how the Lord communicated with me.
A Little Background
A couple years ago, a dear friend suffered a terrible loss. Like many in our neighborhood, I showed up at her door with a pot of soup and hugs of sympathy. But as I left her home that day, and for many days after, I worried that my small effort, though heartfelt, did nothing to alleviate her pain. What could I do to truly offer comfort in her time of need? I decided to share a scripture, knowing that the word of God heals better than anything I could do or say.
I sent her a text with a short scripture message. One message led to two, which led to a daily scripture and thought to show her my continued support. Every morning, after my personal scripture study, I share a brief message with her and then go about my day.
Which leads to the experience I had this week.
The Story of Lehonti
When my friend texted me on Saturday, he included two instructions: bring the scriptures to life for these youth and do it using the story of Lehonti. After trying to remember Lehonti’s story, I flipped to Alma 47 for a refresher course. Then I started thinking about what I could teach.
I thought about it for a couple days, not quite sure of my direction. Then the amazing thing happened.
I opened my computer to write an outline for the lesson. But I got distracted and started scrolling through old scripture texts instead. In my scrolling, I stumbled across a message about Lehonti that I wrote over a year ago. You can read the complete message here.
Here’s the thing about this particular message. It was long. Really long. Too long for a single text. But I had sent it anyway. What had I been thinking?
But here’s the amazing part. The message was the exact outline I needed for this lesson on Lehonti.
Not Knowing Beforehand
I didn’t know last year that I would be asked at the last minute to teach a lesson on Lehonti. But the Lord did. I didn’t know when I sat down to write out an outline but ended up scrolling through old texts that I would find what I needed already written. But the Lord did.
I believe the content of that text was personal revelation. I believe I was directed to find it this week through personal revelation. I just didn’t know it.
You might say this was a coincidence. But I believe that, like Nephi, “I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do” (1 Nephi 4:6).
The Dews from Heaven
I get that this is a small, ordinary example of personal revelation. Not much amazing about it. Except that it is. That’s how personal revelation works. It comes quietly. It distills “as the dews from heaven” (Doctrine & Covenants 121:45). But this direct communication from heaven is truly amazing.
We don’t often recognize dew in action. At least not until we run across the lawn early in the morning in our socks to throw something away in the garbage can. Only then do we see (or feel) its presence.
That’s how personal revelation works for us. The Lord is always revealing truth. It’s up to us to see it. It’s usually not a torrential rain. It’s more a quiet, constant dampness that seeps into our souls and teaches us the mysteries of God. It’s understanding. It’s wisdom. It’s enlightenment.
Two Truths About Personal Revelation
The scriptures teach two important truths about personal revelation. First, the Spirit reveals truth. “The Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit” (Doctrine & Covenants 84:46).
Second, we have to seek it. “If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things” (Doctrine & Covenants 42:61). If we want to know something from God, we have to ask.
Brigham Young taught, “God has revealed all the truth that is now in the possession of the world, whether it be scientific or religious. The whole world are [sic] under obligation to him for what they know and enjoy; they are indebted to him for it all, and I acknowledge him in all things.” The Lord wants to reveal truth. As President Russell M. Nelson taught, “There is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know.”
Our Responsibility to Receive Personal Revelation
I didn’t do anything extraordinary to receive personal revelation this week. But I did do two ordinary things deliberately. First, I opened my scriptures that morning a year ago and read. I could have skipped my scripture reading for just one day. I could have been distracted. I could have been tired. I could have been too busy. But I chose to read.
Second, I asked the Lord to teach me something important that I could share in a text. I could have skimmed through my reading to check it off the list. I could have assumed that since I had read the story of Lehonti before I didn’t have anything new to learn. But I didn’t. I prayed. I listened. And then I recorded my impressions so they wouldn’t be lost.
Through those small efforts, I received the inspiration I would need down the road to complete a last-minute assignment for a group of complete strangers. I didn’t know I would need that lesson on Lehonti. But the Lord did. Through personal revelation, He taught me the truths I could then pass on to others. I just had to recognize His hand to appreciate the amazing true story of personal revelation in my own life.
When have you received personal revelation? Did you recognize it? What will you do with it? Take a minute to think about these questions and record your answers. Better yet, share them with someone you know. Maybe your personal revelation can lift someone else today.