One of the things that Grace asked me to do was read "Tragedy or Destiny?" by Spencer W. Kimball.
I barely got through the first chapter of it before I thought of an experience I had back in 2001. Hayley and I had gone up to Idaho for EFY. Her dad is a pilot for small, private planes and had flown us up there in his brother's plane. Shortly after leaving the airport on our way home I could tell something was wrong. Hayley's dad and brother were talking and almost frantically flipping switches. It was so noisy I couldn't hear what they were saying. They went to try to land at a small airport, but the lights of the runway would not turn on making it unsafe to land. They turned around and headed back to another airport that was about 20 miles away. Seconds after turning around Hayley's brother turned to us and said, "The engine of the plane just died. It's going to go down." You'd think it would be terrifying to hear you are about to be in a plane crash. It was the complete opposite. It was one of the most peaceful experiences I've ever had. For the next 20 minutes not a single word was said. As we approached the runway of the airport Hayley pointed to the propeller of the plane, it had just stopped moving. The second the tires hit the runway the plane came to a jolting stop. The plane glided the exact 20 miles we needed it to. To this day Hayley's dad loves to remind us of that experience. We weren't up high enough that it should have glided as long as it did. There was no logical explanation of how or why the plane didn't crash that night. So that's the story about how Hayley and I (along with her dad and brother) should have died when we were 16.
I thought about that and other things I've been through throughout my life as I read what President Kimball had written. The parts that stood out to me were:
*If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith.
*If we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors
*No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted... it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire." -Orson F. Whitney
*The power of the priesthood is limitless but God has wisely placed upon each of us certain limitations.
*God has many times preserved the lives of his servants until they could complete their work.
*God controls our lives, guides and blesses us, but gives us our agency.
*I am positive in my mind that the Lord has planned our destiny. Sometime we’ll understand fully, and when we see back from the vantage point of the future, we shall be satisfied with many of the happenings of this life that are so difficult for us to comprehend.
*With all its troubles life offers us the tremendous privilege to grow in knowledge and wisdom, faith and works, preparing to return and share God’s glory.