Capacity Beyond our Own

President Monson’s priesthood session talk from this past conference was a brief testimony of the blessings of the Word of Wisdom. I really liked the central story of the talk and it is short enough that I am going to share it here in full:

“Recently I read the true account of a dramatic manifestation concerning these promises. A faithful member of the Church, John A. Larsen, served during World War II in the United States Coast Guard on the ship USS Cambria. During a battle in the Philippines, word came of an approaching squadron of bombers and kamikaze fighter planes. Orders were given for immediate evacuation. Since the USS Cambria was already gone, John and three companions gathered their gear and hurried to the beach, hoping for a lift out to one of the departing ships. Fortunately, a landing craft picked them up and sped toward the last ship leaving the bay. The men on that departing ship, in an effort to evacuate as quickly as possible, were busy on deck and had time only to throw ropes to the four men, that they might hopefully be able to climb to the deck.

John, with a heavy radio strapped to his back, found himself dangling at the end of a 40-foot (12 m) rope, at the side of a ship headed out to the open sea. He began pulling himself up, hand over hand, knowing that if he lost his grip, he would almost certainly perish. After climbing only a third of the way, he felt his arms burning with pain. He had become so weak that he felt he could no longer hold on.

With his strength depleted, as he grimly contemplated his fate, John silently cried unto God, telling Him that he had always kept the Word of Wisdom and had lived a clean life—and he now desperately needed the promised blessings.

John later said that as he finished his prayer, he felt a great surge of strength. He began climbing once again and fairly flew up the rope. When he reached the deck, his breathing was normal and not the least bit labored. The blessings of added health and stamina promised in the Word of Wisdom had been his. He gave thanks to his Heavenly Father then, and throughout the remainder of his life, for the answer to his desperate prayer for help.”

We are very unlikely to be in a circumstance where we need help from heaven in such a dramatic fashion. Yet, I am so grateful for moments in my life when I have experienced divine aid and strength beyond my own. For me, that divine aid has come more frequently as the spirit has given me a rush of inspiration and wisdom. I found that praying before law school exams or other important assignments has always helped me. I have felt the Lord’s promised blessings of treasures of hidden knowledge. I am so grateful to my father in heaven for the Word of Wisdom and its attendant blessings.

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