“Lee’s Testimony,” Ensign, Jan. 1983, 32
When the doctor confirmed that our six-year-old daughter was diabetic, we were heartbroken. Because the tendency for diabetes is inherited from both parents, we felt responsible for passing this ailment to our innocent Carolyn. Added to our feelings of guilt was the burden of giving Carolyn insulin injections, controlling her diet, and dealing with emotional distress.
One day I heard someone quote scripture to indicate that if a person is afflicted and not subsequently healed, it could be because he or his loved ones lack faith. I was overcome with depression. Carolyn had been administered to several times and had been in the earnest prayers of many people. Whose faith was lacking? How could I develop more faith? Would God punish this precious daughter because I lacked the required faith?
Finally, one fast day as I sought solace and answers from Heavenly Father, an answer came that I will never forget.
Among the members of our ward is an exceptionally fine, strong family with two boys and two girls. Both sons are afflicted with an inherited degenerative muscular disease that has gradually weakened and crippled them. When the Jewkes family moved into our ward, the oldest son, Lee, at first walked haltingly and with difficulty, then used a cane. After his mission he required a wheelchair. His brother also is now in a wheelchair. Always cheerful and friendly, Lee continually radiates spirituality and gratitude for the blessings of life.
After the sacrament that fast day, the time for testimony bearing began and Lee asked for the microphone. He recalled the time when, as a student at Brigham Young University, he and his returned-missionary roommates decided he had suffered long enough. They concluded that among them and their priesthood leader they possessed enough faith for him to be healed. As they fasted together, Lee felt such a strong spirit and faith among them that he knew he could be made well.
The anointing was completed and hands were laid on his head as the blessing began. The young men in that priesthood circle knew the Lord’s spirit was with them, yet the elder giving the blessing could not promise Lee that he would be cured.
He felt discouraged and puzzled. They were all faithful servants of the Lord. They had all fasted and prayed sincerely and with faith. Why then was he not healed?
In an effort to overcome his depression, Lee returned to his studies. He picked up a pencil and began to write …
He looked at the word unbelievingly. He had never seen or heard it, and it almost seemed as if someone else had guided his hand. Curious, he looked for the meaning in his pocket dictionary, but it was not there; feeling foolish, he tossed the paper in the wastebasket. But as he tried to study, a compelling feeling he could not dismiss finally urged him to look again in an unabridged dictionary. To his astonishment, he found it. The word meant “endure, continue to bear, great, important.” It was the answer to his faith and supplication. A feeling of peace flooded over him.
The word melted into my heart: endure—endure—endure. As Lee closed his testimony that day, the tears streamed down my face. My soul was lifted with a divine reassurance.
Upon returning home, I opened the Doctrine and Covenants and read these verses:
“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.” (D&C 121:7–8.)
Carolyn’s condition will always be a challenge, but in adjusting to her malady she has developed a maturity and spirituality beyond her years. She is twenty now, and was married in the Salt Lake Temple two years ago.
I am grateful for the testimony Lee shared with us that day long ago. It has helped me realize that the precious gift of faith is required not only for healing, when it is God’s will, but also for a challenge just as important: enduring.