Wounded. An Orginal Watercolor

This last October I turned 40 years old! My birthday always occurs around the Church of Jesus Christ’s general conference. This year my husband and I drove down with our daughter and our friend to experience this event.

It was wonderful. As we sat in the conference center this beautiful talk resonated with me.

Wounded by Elder Neil L Anderson


“In the crucible of earthly trials, patiently move forward, and the

Savior’s healing power will

  • bring you light,
    • understanding,
      • peace,
        • and hope.”

In 2016 my brother Luc was studying in Belguim. We received a text from him telling us not to worry he was fine. I immediately searched the web and was shocked to see another terrorist attack.

In 2016, two suicide bombing happened at the Brussels airport and the third at the metro station.  The death toll was 35 and more than 300 injured. Time magazine estimated the 900 victims, “encompassing those affected by physical or psychological trauma”.

Among the injured were missionaries my brother Luc knew. One was Elder Richard Norby. He and his wife were serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He reflected about this event, “I tried to run for safety, but I immediately fell down. … I [noticed] black, almost spiderweb-type, soot drooping from both hands. I gently pulled at it, but realized it was not soot but my skin that had been burned. As the consciousness of what had just happened… I [had] this very strong thought: … the Savior knew where I was, what had just transpired.”

I don’t know many of us will experience a terrorist bombing, however, sometimes life drops its own bombs. They aren’t always physical but often in the daily routines of life… we experience an explosion, an attack on our peace.

These moments can feel dark and heavy. They can shock us and make us question if God really is aware of us. Although I haven’t felt my skin feel like spider webs or seen if fall from my body, yet, in a spiritual sense have felt the shock and horror of life’s events. I have also wondered, Where did I mess up to have such tragedy blind-side me.?

But I return to Elder Anderson’s initial thoughts.

“In the crucible of earthly trials, patiently move forward, and the

Savior’s healing power will

  • bring you light,
    • understanding,
      • peace,
        • and hope.”
A crucible, a dish of metal or glass, where metals can be burned to remove their impurities. It’s a place to become purer. The dross is removed and it becomes more valuable. This idea made me think of my life. Do I want to be purer? Do I want to become more useful? I sing the hymn, “More holiness give me.”
I sing these lines, “More holiness give me… More patience in suff’ring,
More trust in the Lord… More meekness in trial…. More strength to o’ercome, More purity give me.”
I know these lines are true and necessary. Yet, when the flames start I find myself wondering if being purer is overrated. Dross has its benefits, its comfortable. I guess I forgot what this line is teaching me. If I am purer I am more valuable to serve and assist others.
“More used would I be,”
If I could learn to trust the Lord and submit lovingly to His will, He would use me more in blessing his other children. Isn’t that awesome trust and ultimate love? Isn’t that the love He bestowed on His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ? He allowed Him to take the sins and pains of all His children.
Orson F Whitney encourages us to seek help from others. “‘To whom do we look, in days of grief and disaster, for help and consolation? . . . They are men and women who have suffered, and out of their experience in suffering, they bring forth the riches of their sympathy and condolences as a blessing to those now in need. Could they do this had they not suffered themselves?’”
God allows refining events in the lives of his most beloved children. In Mosiah the Lord states He will “ease the burdens … that even you cannot feel them …, even while you are in [the crucible]; God tells us why he allows his righteous to suffer in this phrase “this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me …and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.” (Mosiah 24: 14) His only perfect child paid the highest price and descended below everything.  Could we really offer the help and support necessary to bless others if we never experienced grief and suffering?

The last verse of the hymn states

More purity give me,
More strength to o’ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains,
More longing for home.
More fit for the kingdom,
More used would I be,
More blessed and holy—
More, Savior, like thee.
The last line of the hymn reminds me of my goal to become like the pure Giver.
Elder Anderson compares life’s trials to a crucible; a place where impurities can be removed. Another Oxford definition of crucible states “a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new.” Earthly trials are an event which different elements combine to make a new substance. Thus, earthly trials become the catalyst for change. A change of heart, a new love; a renewing of faith, a new belief; a dependence on the One who can heal and love, a new relationship; a balm of healing for others, a new hope; a testimony of deliverance, a new understanding.

As Richard Norby understands this lesson he claimed… “The tests and trials that come to each of us give the opportunity and privilege to better know the Savior and understand in deeper detail his atoning sacrifice. It is he we lean on… seek out. … depend on. ..have confidence in…[and] love with all our heart, without any reservations. The Savior … takes the pain from us. He absorbs our sorrows.”

When someone is acquainted with grief and sorrow and offers their faith and testimony, our hearts can’t help but be pricked. We hear their faith and know that they offer the riches of their sympathies. I love Elder Anderson’s declaration: “The wounded who nurse the wounds of others are God’s angels on earth.”

“We each understand that difficulties are part of life, but when they come to us personally, they can take our breath away…we need to be ready. The Apostle Peter said, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.”7 Along with the bright colors of happiness and joy, the darker-colored threads of trial and tragedy are woven deeply into the fabric of our Father’s plan. These struggles, although difficult, often become our greatest teachers.8

As much as I resist the fire and even resent it. I know ultimately it is what the Lord wants me to become. Often like Helaman’s young fighters, I rejoice that “there was not one soul of them who did perish.” But I forget,  “And neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.”9  Everyone gets wounded in life’s battlefield, either physically, spiritually, or both.

Jesus Christ will heal the wounds from the crucibles we encounter. I know this is true. I love this thought:

The Savior is our Good Samaritan,11 sent “to heal the brokenhearted.”12 He comes to us when others pass us by. With compassion, He places His healing balm on our wounds and binds them up. He carries us. He cares for us. He bids us, “Come unto me … and I shall heal [you].”13

I love the idea of our Savior being the Good Samaritan. At the time the Jews hated the Samaritans. Pride has been described as enmity or hatred. When I don’t see the crucible with love and gratitude I too hate the Samaritan. I forget His design is to help me depend on God. Like a wounded traveler on the road, I need Him to offer support and relief. I must remember He is the giver of good gifts. However He chooses to send them.

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish;

Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.

Here bring your wounded hearts; here tell your anguish.

Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal.15

The Norbys told me, “Disappointment comes to visit on occasion but is never allowed to stay.”24  That is a beautiful testimony born by one who was one the Lords errand and struck down anyways. May we always remember the promise of the one who promised to “wipe away all tears”.  THe Helaer of our souls, in His time and His way, will heal all your wounds. 32

I want Elder Anderson to have the last words: “No injustice, no persecution, no trial, no sadness, no heartache, no suffering, no wound—however deep, however wide, however painful—will be excluded from the comfort, peace, and lasting hope of Him whose open arms and whose wounded hands will welcome us back into His presence. At that day, the Apostle John testifies, the righteous “which [come] out of great tribulation”33 … before the throne of God.”