He's Been There Before

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Troy Whittle

The alarm rings at 6:30 a.m., I stumble to my feet,
I grab my companion's bedding and pull off his sheet.
A groan fills the room, "Is it already time to arise?"
It seems like just a second ago I was able to shut my eyes.

The morning activities follow—study, prayer, and such.
When it's time to leave the apartment, you feel you haven't done too much.
"We have a super day planned." My comp says with a grin.
I lowly utter a faithless breath, "Sure, if anyone lets us in."

With the word of God and my faithful Scwhinn, we ride off in the street,
Prepared to face another day of humidity and heat.
It's 9:30 in the evening—the day is almost through;
My companion and I are riding home, not accomplishing what we thought to do.

We ride up to the mailbox, hoping to receive a lot,
Hoping there was a letter, but finding there was not.
We go up to our apartment, the day is now complete.
The only thing to show for our work is a pair of blistery feet.

It's past 10:30 p.m.—my companion is fast asleep;
Silence engulfs me all about and I begin to weep.
In the midst of sadness, I kneel down to pray;
I need to talk to my father, but I'm not sure what to say.

"Oh Father," I begin, "what happened to us today?
I thought we'd teach somebody, but everyone was away.
My hands, my aching hands, work, hurt, and beat;
If our area was any smaller, we would have tracted in every street."

"Why on missions are the days so much alike?
The only difference about today was the flat tire on my bike.
Will you send some cooler weather? The heat is killing me.
I sweat so bad, it gets in my eyes. It's very hard to see."

"Why do I have to wear a helmet, isn't your protection enough?
People always laugh at me and call me stupid stuff.
Please send us investigators so I may give them what they lack.
I want to give them a Book of Mormon, the weight of them hurts my back.

"And what about my family? They don't have much to say.
I'm sick of not hearing from them, day after day after day."
"Oh Father, Why am I here? Am I just wasting time?
Sometimes, I just want to go home, I'm sorry, but that's on my mind."

"My companion, Heavenly Father, what are you giving me?
The way he rides his bicycle, I don't think he can see.
Now you have it, I can't go on, I don't know what to do;
That, my Father in Heaven is the prayer I have for you."

My prayer now finished, I stand up—then jump right into bed.
I need my rest for tomorrow; we have another long day ahead.
Sleep starts to overtake me, I almost drift away,
Then it seems a vision takes me to another time, another day.

I'm standing alone on a hill, the view is very nice;
A man walks towards me and says, "My name is Jesus Christ."
Tears of joy well up inside and I fall down to his feet.
"Arise," he states, "Follow me to the shade—you and I need to speak."

My attentions toward my Savior, total and complete,
He says, "Your mission is similar to what happened to me,
I understand how you feel, I know what you're going through;
In fact, it would be fair to say I've felt the same as you."

"I even know how you felt when no one listened to you.
At times I felt not quite sure what else that I could do.
I know you don't like to ride a bicycle, for you a car would be sweet;
just remember the donkey I rode wasn't equipped with 21 Speeds."

"I understand you don't like sweating, in fact it's something you hate;
I remember when I sweated blood from every pore, oh the agony was great!
I see you don't like your companion, you'd rather have someone else.
I once had a companion named Judas who sold my life for wealth."

"It's hard to wear a helmet and have people make fun of you,
I remember when they put thorns on my head and called me King of the Jews.
So you feel burdened down by the weight of your pack;
I recall how heavy the cross was when they slammed it on my back."

"Your hands hurt from tracting and knocking on doors all day,
I guess when they pounded nails into mine, I ached in a similar way.
It's hard not to hear from home when your family's not there to see;
I lost communication on the cross and cried, "Father, why has thou forsaken me?"

"We have a lot in common, but there's difference between us you see.
I endured to the end and finished my mission, so follow and do like me."
He embraced me with his arms, his light filled me with his love.
With tears in my eyes, I watched as he ascended back to the Father above.

I stood with awe and wonder when a beep rang in my head.
I listened and heard the alarm, then realized I was in my bed.
My companion let out a groan, "6:30 already? No way!"
I sat up and said, "Come on, I'll even carry your scriptures today."

No matter what we go through ,
when we feel we can't take more,
just stop and think about Jesus Christ,
He's been there before.

Troy Whittle – written in July, 1993, after a really tough day in the mission field
Used by permission of the author - This is the correct version as supplied by the author on June 28, 2001