President Russel M. Nelson’s visit to New Zealand was eagerly anticipated by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since the day it was announced. For Lillian Arp, a member of the Church from the Auckland New Zealand Papatoetoe Stake, there was particular excitement as she was to sing in the choir performing at the Auckland New Zealand event. Weeks of practise lead to a wonderful performance on the day of the prophet’s visit but for Lillian, the day of the devotional began as one of the worst days she had had in a long time.
“I’ve been struggling with a severe health issue for a while,” she said. “It’s very frustrating and can at times make life miserable. That Tuesday, things were not good. My health difficulties, mixed with a number of other challenges that all seemed to converge on that day, lead to my arriving at the venue very late—the last person to arrive; I missed the sound check and finished getting dressed just minutes before walking on stage.”
Lillian could tell that there was a beautiful spirit in the arena, but she could not feel it herself.
“My feelings were of rejection, abandonment, and a huge sense of inadequacy followed by guilt for my ingratitude.”
When President Nelson began his talk, Lillian began to feel a little better.
“He spoke about how our bodies are designed to regulate themselves,” she said. “I felt that I needed to revisit the Word of Wisdom and let those inspired scriptures help me overcome my health problems.”
As the prophet’s remarks came to a close, he began to pronounce a blessing. As she sat in the stand listening to this blessing, Lillian started to pray earnestly: “Please remove this illness. Please bless me with health,” she prayed.
She wondered if she had enough faith to be made whole and in that very moment, she noticed President Nelson pause.
“He said that he sensed that there were those who were concerned about illness and proceeded to bless us with good health, according to the will of Heavenly Father.
“I’m sure he was talking to many people in the audience, but for me it was an immediate and direct answer to a desperate prayer. I knew without a doubt that God loved me and was allowing me to experience this difficulty for a purpose that I do not yet understand.”
Though Lillian’s body was not miraculously healed, her heart was. She was comforted as the Spirit helped her discover something wonderful about herself.
“I realized that no matter how difficult my health challenges have been, I have never turned away from God. I say my prayers every morning and night, I read my scriptures and fulfil my callings. I am not perfect, of course, but I have never given up.
“Perhaps the Lord wanted me to know that no matter how hard things get I will always choose Him. Even on the day of the devotional, when things were dark and hopeless, I chose to do all I could to be at that devotional and I’m so glad that I did.”