One day, my mother and I were driving home when a man on a bicycle came down a small hill. The biker suddenly swerved to avoid hitting an oncoming truck. In a split second that felt like an eternity, the sharp turn caused the man to lose control of his bike, fly over the handlebars, and hit his head violently on the road. We immediately pulled over. Panicked, I got out of my car and rushed to his side. His breathing was heavy, but he wasn’t conscious.
I immediately knew that this man needed a priesthood blessing, but I couldn’t help but wonder: could I do it?
In that moment, I recalled listening to the words of Elder Jefferey R. Holland when I was a young Aaronic Priesthood holder: “Young men, you will learn, if you have not already, that in frightening, even perilous moments, your faith and your priesthood will demand the very best of you and the best you can call down from heaven. . . .
“. . . The day may come—indeed, I am certain will come—when in an unexpected circumstance or a time of critical need, lightning will strike, so to speak, and the future will be in your hands. Be ready when that day comes” (“Sanctify Yourselves,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 39, 40; Liahona, Jan. 2001, 47, 49).
As a youth, these words sunk deep into my heart and helped prepare me to become a worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder. But for years after receiving the priesthood, I couldn’t bring myself to give priesthood blessing to others, and the biggest reason was fear.
I was afraid I was unworthy or that I might not say the right thing. This fear kept me from using the priesthood authority, with which I’d been entrusted, to call on the powers of heaven to bless others. But deep down I knew that if I wanted to magnify the priesthood, my feelings needed to change. I needed to overcome my fears and insecurities about using God’s power to bless others.
By exercising faith in the Lord and acting on the inspired counsel of His servants, I aligned my life more closely with His teachings. I took the time to pour out my soul in prayer every day, and I prayed to be spiritually strengthened as I studied the scriptures. I shared scripture verses with whoever came to mind while reading. I listened to general conference talks. I shared my testimony of the gospel with others. And I fasted when I needed extra strength.
As I followed these basic instructions with a determination to align my will with God’s, I could feel the Holy Ghost more, my spiritual capacity increased, and my connection with the powers of heaven was strengthened. At last, I had the courage to give a blessing of comfort and guidance.
I remember feeling nervous at first and worried about what to say. But as the Spirit washed over me, my fear was gone, and my worry was replaced by the very words I should say! It felt so right, like I had been missing a part of myself all along!
Since then I’ve been called on to give more blessings than I can count, and I love it! Each time I give the Lord’s blessings to His children, I’ve been blessed immensely. A priesthood blessing truly blesses everyone involved.
Just as Elder Holland had prophesied, lightning struck that day on the road in the form of an unexpectedly injured biker. Had I not worked with the Lord over the previous years to overcome my fear of giving blessings in safer circumstances, we would’ve both been helpless in this potentially life-threatening situation. But with the Lord guiding and strengthening me, I knelt beside him and quietly whispered the words I felt impressed to say as I blessed him.
When I finished, I looked up and a sheriff’s deputy was standing next to me. He happened to be right behind us the whole time and had called for an ambulance. But the injured man quickly regained consciousness, insisted that he was fine, and rode off on his bicycle, passing the ambulance down the road. While I understand that not every priesthood blessing produces such immediate results, this was an experience I will never forget. I’m so grateful that when the time came, I was ready.