It took a few minutes for my subconscious, sleep-seeking self to realize that my body was saying it was time to look at my clock. Time to see what God was going to do today with my Sabbath schedule.
God and I have an interesting deal when my ward meets in the morning hours — an arrangement I am sheepish to share because I don’t like being the exception to the rule. I’d always been a diligent, three-meetings-no-matter-what and no-matter-what-time kind of Mormon church-goer. So when the impression came about two years ago to not set an alarm on Sundays, I was nervous. But I also knew that the stress of trying to decide what the “right” thing to do each Sunday was reaching a breaking point. To try to balance my serious sleep disorder + my chronic-fatiguey-thing, while also trying to be obedient about attending my meetings and partaking of the sacrament, was too difficult for me and my weary body and mind. I needed God to carry this one. And He nudged me to let Him do it.
I am still amazed to say that I only missed the sacrament once that year (and I think that was a day when my body really did need sleep). My testimony of this sacred ordinance increased in unspeakable ways as I could feel how much God cares about me receiving the blessings and power of the ordinance — power that, as the scriptures say, can only be found in ordinances of the gospel.
Nevermind the wonder of seeing God work miracles each week. Last year, our ward had the 1:00 slot, but this year, I’m back to not setting an alarm. Every Sunday really is its own adventure in gratefully witnessing what God does.
For example, a week ago last night, I went to bed so entirely exhausted that I actually suggested to Heavenly Father that perhaps this Sunday, it might be a good Sunday to just let me sleep. But I fell asleep with my heart open to see what Father would do.
I finally rolled out of my sleepy state at 1:05. Even as I was certain I wouldn’t make it to the building in time to take the sacrament, I felt I should still at least try…at least do my part of the deal to get out of bed and to the building. (This is because I’ve experienced too many perfect-timing miracles to not try!) I got ready in a little over five minutes and ran out the door. Driving toward the stake center and a ward I know more personally, I felt impressed to go to the other building, which is a little closer; I knew seconds could matter at this point.
But maybe there was more to the impression than that.
When I arrived at the building, I could tell by the silence that the sacrament was already underway. I asked a brother in the foyer if they had already received the bread. They had. Through the (usually-closed) door to the overflow, I could see a young deacon (12-13 year old young man) standing at the end of a row. I don’t even know if what I did was okay (after all, I had missed the hymn and the prayer, so in the full spirit of the ordinance, I was too late) — but in my yearning to take both the bread and the water, I stepped inside the door and reached out to tap the deacon on the shoulder.
I missed him by only inches.
A dear friend of mine was sitting on the end of his row. As he realized what was happening, he walked briskly behind the deacon (who by this time was up to the front of the chapel). The deacon came back to where I was and held out the tray. A little embarrassed, but so, so grateful, I reached out for that piece of bread, retreated back to the foyer, and wept in gratitude — both for the timing of yet another sacrament miracle, but also for the kindness of my friend and the service of that young deacon.
It seemed not coincidental that a member of our stake presidency ended that sacrament meeting speaking about how the sacrament is one way we can touch the hem of the Savior’s garment. This New Testament story holds special meaning for me for various reasons — not the least of which is that I have dealt with my health issues for over a decade now, and have spent thousands of dollars, countless hours, and a collective torrent of tears on doctor’s visits, surgeries, and medications. Physical healing has yet to take place, and may not take place in this life, but I testify that I have felt the Savior’s healing power through my weekly sacrament miracles.
I am grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and grateful to those who hold the priesthood (both those carrying and blessing the bread and water and those willing to flag down the boys who do) who enable this sacred moment to take place for me every week.
I really enjoyed reading this post. I have been thinking a lot more about what we should be thinking about and pondering on during the Sacrament. I loved your thoughts.