When I was reading The Second Comforter for the first time I came to chapter nine where Denver wrote about sacrifice. I read Joseph’s quote from the Lectures on Faith: “Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation…” Most of my readers know the rest.
Sacrifice Required to Develop Faith
“I get it,” I said. “That part’s clear. It always has been. Without sacrifice we can’t know for ourselves that we would do all things required of us. We would harbor some doubt about our own willingness to lay all things upon the altar when we are asked to do so.” The sweet comfort of the spirit confirmed what I already knew. This was a true principle required of all disciples.
It Won’t be Something Easy
I also asked myself, “I wonder what kind of sacrifice the Lord will ask of me?” I sat back for a minute, pondered all the things in my life that I enjoyed and mentally checked each one off the list. They all seemed they would be too easy to give up if I were asked. So for the past two years since I read that book for the first time, I’ve been wondering what the Lord would ask of me.
Reviewing My Daily “To Do” List
Well, I need wonder no more. I found out loud and clear this morning about 7:30am. I had just arrived at my place of employment, looked over my short list of critical items, my longer list of important items and then bowed my head in prayer to ask the Lord if any items on the list needed to be rearranged. Even though it was not unexpected, I was not prepared for what I heard next.
What I heard was, “Tim, it’s time to move on.”
I stopped cold. I stilled my mind. I forgot all thoughts of prioritizing my “to do” list. I took a deep breath. I shook my head from side to side, muttered a little something like, “Wait a minute. Maybe you didn’t hear me. Let me try again.” I looked up at my white board which held my list of projects and tasks, quickly reviewed it in my mind then once again bowed my head in prayer.
My Conversation With The Lord
“Tim, you don’t even need to ask. You heard me. It’s time.”
“Oh, Lord, you can’t mean it. Do you know what this would do to Carol Anne?”
“I know Tim. This will be a test for her too.”
“A terrible test,” I said. “This is her greatest fear – loss of security.”
“I know that.”
“Do you know what my Bishop would say?
“Do you know what my Stake President would say?”
“You do realize how I’ve fought and struggled all my life to get to where I am now?”
“Yes, Tim. I helped you all the way. Remember?”
“I suppose you realize this goes against all the principles of self-reliance I’ve ever been taught?”
“Of course I do. Nevertheless, it’s time. Please don’t delay any longer. Make it happen.”
Resigning From a Good-Paying Job
For the next hour, amidst tears and many shakes of the head in unbelief, I composed my letter of resignation. At last it was ready. I have resigned many jobs in my life. It’s a natural part of the tech industry, especially early in your career. Sometimes, it’s the only way to move up, get ahead, get a raise or get to work with new technology. That is, by finding a new and better job.
Your Test May Go Against What You’ve Been Taught
But that technique usually works best when you’re young and have nobody depending on you. I am an old man. I am at the pinnacle of my career, well-paid, with a secure job and great benefits. You don’t just walk away from that without some other prospect in mind. It doesn’t make sense. I remember someone asking on Denver’s blog how you would know the request was from God.
—— Beginning of Quote ——-
From Denver Snuffer’s blog, 11 May 2010, under the title, “What lack I yet?” (bold and italics added by me)
I was asked this question: “Do you know with surety IN ADVANCE of doing some incredibly hard sacrifice that it is the Lord asking it of you, or do you come to know that it is His will AS you do it?” My response:
You will know with absolute certainty that the request came from the Lord. The request will be difficult, or a sacrifice.
HOWEVER, whether the person recognizes at the moment or only in hindsight that it was required for them to develop the faith necessary for redemption is not universal. Some know at the time, some only know in hindsight. What is absolutely universal is that when the test has been passed, the faith exists. When it does, it will be enough for redemption and the promise of eternal life.
Joseph knew he had the promise of eternal life (as recorded in D&C 132: 49) before he went to Carthage to die. He knew he was going to die. Death was not his great challenge, but the physical ratification of the faith which already existed in him. The earlier trials had been enough to prove him and put that power within him. His death was an extension of existing faith and knowledge.
The order of things is established and can be known. The details of how it unfolds in individual lives will be specific to the individual. Whether the person realizes the final great test is underway or not will depend on the person. I did not. I only came to realize in hindsight what was underway.
——— End of quote ——–
You’ll Know With Absolute Certainty
Denver said we would know with absolute certainty the request came from the Lord. He said it would clearly be a sacrifice. He said some would know in advance, some would not. In my case, I knew with absolute certainty, in advance, this is what the Lord wanted me to do. Let me tell you how I knew because most anyone can present a very convincing argument to the contrary.
How I received My Confirmation
Before I hit the send button on that resignation email at 9am this morning, I paused one more time and bowed my head in prayer. The prayer went something like this:
Making Sure I’m Not Being Deceived
“Oh, Lord, thou hast asked a difficult thing of me. Thou hast said we can know of a certainty that a request for sacrifice like this has come from thee and not from within our own minds or from some other source such as the adversary, trying to convince us to do something to destroy our lives. Oh, Lord, I need to know for a certainty that this is not advice from some modern crackpot.
I Explain the Difficult Circumstances
I continued, “This will affect my family, especially my dear wife. Her greatest fear is lack of security – loss of a job, loss of income and health insurance. If this only affected me, I would have no hesitation, but thou hast said that wives have claim upon their husbands for their maintenance. Wilt thou answer my prayer with a certainty before I do this difficult thing?”
Negative Thoughts Flooded My Mind
I paused. A multitude of thoughts flooded through my mind. All the negative things my readers have said when I have written about Denver Snuffer in my blog came through my mind. I heard the voice of my own dear wife saying to me, “And if Denver asked you to follow him to some far-away place, would you do it?” I heard my response, “Of course not. That would be crazy.”
I Saw Myself Going Through the Trial
And then, for a moment, all was still. It seemed as if eternity hung in the balance. My finger was poised above the Enter key. In my mind’s eye I saw myself going through this trial. I saw from beginning to end how it would go. I knew how long it would take to secure new employment. I knew the heartbreak, the disappointment, the financial struggle, the pain, the sorrow, the tears.
A Job Affects a Man’s Self-Esteem
I had been through it before, several times. There’s nothing worse to destroy a man’s ego than to lose a sense of purpose that comes from his job. Not having a job takes away your identity. It’s who you are. It’s how the world sees you and evaluates your worth. In an instant, I saw I would lose all that, but in the end, I would be a different person, the one the Lord wanted me to be.
All based on a Short Feeling of Peace
A feeling of peace came over me. A sense of destiny returned to my mind. This was clearly one of those moments for which I was sent to this earth. I saw myself as if I was seeing myself from a previous life. It was déjà vu if you believe in that sort of stuff. I pushed the button. The die was cast. I had sealed my fate. I knew what would happen. I knew my resignation would be accepted.
The Adversary Returned To Torment Me
“Now you’ve done it. You’ve gone and done the worst thing you could possibly do to your wife. Do you remember the counsel of your bishop early in your married life when he said, ‘Well, you certainly haven’t given her much reason to trust your judgment or provided her much security.’ She’s going to let you have it. Why, she may even divorce you. How could you do such a thing?”
Dismiss Satan and Don’t Listen to Him
Yep, that’s Satan for you. I dismissed him and went about my work for the day. Within six hours I had my answer. My resignation was courteously accepted but with a little kicker at the end: “How soon can you get your assistant trained to take over all your tasks?” In other words, “Sorry to see you go, but hurry up and get things all squared away so the next guy can do your job.”
Today is My Birthday – Happy Birthday to Me
I was expecting it so I wasn’t hurt, but it just confirmed for me that nobody is irreplaceable. I wonder how long the process of securing new employment will take this time. Last time it was seven months but I was nearly ten years younger. Today is my 57th birthday – Happy birthday to me. I didn’t have to do this. I brought it on myself. I have nobody to blame for this foolishness.
Of My Own Free Will And Choice
Since this is my blog which I sometimes use as my personal journal, let me make it clear for anybody who reads this. I did this of my own free will and choice. Just like I took the covenants in the temple upon me of my own free will and choice, I decided to accept the promptings of the voice of the Lord – or what I believe was the voice of the Lord – to accept this test and sacrifice.
We’ve Gone Through This Before
I only pray my wife will be able to deal with this. Now you may ask, “Why didn’t you talk with her about this before?” Trust me I have, many times. I told her right away today what I had done. I admire her response. She asked, “Do you still want to go out to dinner for your birthday?” I’m sure there were tears, but I only caught a short glimpse of them. We had an enjoyable evening.
Prove To Yourself That You Treasure God
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. We cannot be both spiritual and materialistic. What do you treasure? Sacrifice is a means of proving to yourself and to God that you treasure Him and His above all the things of this world.
Sacrifice Is A Major Purpose of Life
“And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming His name, is not trifling with you or me.” Either we believe in sacrifice or we don’t. What you are asked to sacrifice may not be anything like what I was asked to do this morning. Nevertheless, if we are serious about coming unto Christ, you and I must offer obedience and sacrifice as asked.
When The Lord Speaks, Take Action
Even when a hundred arguments could be offered why it’s not the voice of the Lord that was heard, eventually He will ask us for something dear. Sorry folks. I know that voice. I have had too much experience to know that this is what the Lord wants me to do. He wanted me to do it today as a test of faith and an offering of sacrifice of trust in the arm of flesh to trusting Him.
The Lord Will Help Us Through Our Trials
PostScript: I’m not out of a job yet. It could be months before my replacement is trained. In the meantime, I know from past experience how to market my skills and find out who is hiring. I know what it’s like to lose a job unexpectedly. This is different. It is something the Lord asked me to do voluntarily. I simply do not know why yet. I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out.