I have been discouraged because having this painful cough is not part the experience I had hoped to have here on our journey through the Holy Lands. I received a priesthood blessing telling me that I would have the health and strength I needed to fully participate and benefit from this opportunity. And then I proceeded to get sicker, the cough getting worse, my throat hurting more, and my voice becoming weaker.
I prayed for understanding this morning, knowing that we would have the opportunity to spend time in the private part of the Garden of Gethsemane, yet I wondered if I had the strength to continue on. In my mind I saw the Savior during his intercessory prayer. He said, “Father, not my will, but thine be done.”
Then into my mind came the words from Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jer.29.11-13.NIV
And then the Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and said, “What if you are having exactly the experience I had planned for you?”
Hmm. Time to rethink some things.
Some wonderful soul in our group located a place to buy some cough lozenges. I feel so blessed!
Later in the morning, we went back to have a special meeting at the Garden Tomb. We sang some hymns and shared some testimonies about the Savior in our own lives.
I’ve been designated the unofficial music conductor for the group, even though I’ve lost my voice, and someone else has to pitch the tunes for the group. The last hymn we sang together was I Know That My Redeemer Lives. There, in that little white chapel in the garden, in spite of not being able to speak or sing, due to the cough that’s caught me by the lungs, about halfway through the hymn my voice regained some of its strength and allowed me to sing the melody line of the beautiful testimony hymn. I was so grateful for this tender mercy from Heavenly Father. He knows that music is one of my favorite ways to show praise and gratitude, and he blessed me to be able to do it for one shining moment.
“He lives, and while he lives I’ll sing. He lives, my Prophet, Priest and King. He lives and grants me daily breath. He lives, and I shall conquer death. He lives my mansion to prepare. He lives to bring me safely there.”
“He lives, all glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh sweet, the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!” He lives! All glory to his name! He lives! My Savior still the same. Oh sweet, the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”
Other things from the day:
The blood moon lunar eclipse is happening outside my hotel window here in Jerusalem. I can’t get a good photo of it, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.