You Served a Valiant Mission

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Mitch Davis

Several years ago I had a very dramatic experience regarding trusting the Lord. I was backpacking with my 10-year-old son, two of his friends, and our faithful dog, Pluto, when we were hit by lightning.

We were hiking above timberline when a sudden storm blew in. We pitched our tent, and I put the boys inside their sleeping bags to keep them warm. I started fixing dinner on our little camp stove. Then, suddenly, I was gone.

Although I have no recollection of the lightning hitting me, the boys tell me that it blasted through our tent's roof and hit me square in the chest and that I flew backward and landed on the floor unconscious with my eyes open but rolled back into my head.

The bulk of the strike passed through my chest and into the dog sitting behind me, killing him. The rest of the lightning curled down my right arm and struck the boy seated next to me, then danced wickedly about the tent, burning holes in sleeping bags and striking the two other boys.

But I knew nothing about this. In my mind, at least, I ceased to exist.

After some time I became aware of myself again. I began to be able to hear, although I could not see or move any part of my body. As if from a great distance I could hear the three boys screaming. I heard my son cry out, "Dad, please don't die!" One of the boys leaned over and gave me a single puff of artificial respiration. The other promised God he would never do another bad thing in his entire life if Brother Davis would just wake up.

But I couldn't wake up. I could only lie there, helpless, wondering what in the world had happened to me.

Then I became aware of something else—a dark presence I can only describe as impending death. I felt myself starting to leave mortality and realized my only hope was divine intervention. I fought with every fiber of my being to call on Heavenly Father.

Then a most interesting thing happened. Before I could call on Father, He called on me. Through the unmistakably clear voice of the Spirit, He encouraged me with these simple words: "You served a valiant mission. Ask in confidence."

Heavenly Father knew I needed extra faith at that moment. He knew I had faith in Him but lacked faith in myself as a worthy recipient of the miracle I so desperately needed. So he sent me that encouraging message: "You served a valiant mission. Ask in confidence."

I exerted every ounce of faith I had in a fervent, frenzied prayer. Heavenly Father responded by immediately freeing me from death's grip. I regained consciousness and the strength, several hours later, to hike off the mountain with my boy, his friends, and the body of our dog.

I do not tell you this story for the sake of mere drama, nor to boast about my personal missionary prowess. I assure you I was no more valiant than most missionaries. I tell you this story because of the significance of the Lord's choice of words to me: When my life literally hung in the balance, all that mattered were my two years of obscure service in the villages of Argentina.

How grateful I was I had decided to go on a mission and that I had worked hard once I got there! I remembered the words of my great BYU stake president, Robert K. Thomas: "If you're almost worthy, almost willing to make the sacrifice, you'll almost get the blessing." I wondered what the Lord would have said to me on that mountain had I almost decided to serve a mission.

I am so grateful the Lord Jesus Christ didn't "almost" atone for our sins.

"... during the dark times, may you hear the voice of the Lord whispering encouragement to you. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Experience shared at a BYU Devotional Dec. 8, 2001 - "The Other Side of Heaven"