Contact Lens Story - Part II

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The Bread Cast Upon Waters Reverberation Pattern

There is more. (There always is.) The test of a divine pattern is this: An act of divine intervention, when acknowledged as such and testified of, will, like the proverbial bread cast upon the waters, come back after many days to testify, bless, and re-bless, for it witnesses an eternally re-greening and re-blossoming truth. It is a pattern.

So Christ becomes alive in us as we bear witness, in any age. So this little contact lens story has reverberated in at least two ways and surprised me both times.

Reverberation One

On the Sunday after the event, I told the contact lens experience to the members of the Wettingen Branch, over which I presided. The Saints, who had witnessed my visual difficulties up close and shared my joy in my newfound vision, reverberated with the larger meanings of the incident and apparently told it to others.

In 1986, 28 years later, I returned to Switzerland as mission president. As President Peter Lauener introduced Janice and me to the Bern stake conference, he surprised us: "We all have known about President Cracroft for many years," he said. "He it is, brothers and sisters, who as a young missionary here in Switzerland exercised faith and found his lost contact lens." Many in the congregation nodded in recognition.

I was dumbfounded. He turned to me and said for all to hear, "Over many years, that story has been told and retold in all our meetings as an illustration of the necessary steps to faith."

Suddenly I understood that young Elder Cracroft had unwittingly cast his burden on the Lord by taking an inspired and faith-impelled step into the dark. I wondered if President Cracroft, at 50, still possessed that same simple faith.

Reverberation Two

In January 1994, on the day after our 25-year-old daughter and bride of one short year died suddenly, naturally, and without warning--and my wife and I were plunged into the belly of the whale--I received a letter from a former Swiss-Austrian missionary living in Salt Lake City.

He knew nothing of our sorrow, of course. He said he had recently read my name on an article and was writing to inquire if I was the same Elder Cracroft he had known briefly in 1958, at the beginning of his mission and near the end of mine.

He said he had been deeply impressed by a story I had told at a missionary conference about losing and recovering a contact lens. He had related the incident often over the years and hoped he had told it accurately. He then repeated the story as he recalled it. Although I had not told it in a long time, I was amazed that he had captured it exactly as I recollected it and as I just told it.

The reverberation resounded in my ears. In his letter I read my own story in tears of joy amidst my tears of grief. His retelling us that story 36 years later, at the darkest moment of our lives, was no coincidence. Janice and I had received a message from the Lord reminding us that he was there with us at the fall of our dear sparrow, just as he had been there with me on that long-ago hillside.

He was reminding us that this was merely another obstacle on our salvation journey; that all things, including our daughter and ourselves, were in his hands; and that we should press on, confident that, as Lehi says, "All things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things" (2 Nephi 2:24). Who knows, perhaps this twice-told tale may take on new life in the soul of someone in this congregation who needs to hear that message.

Richard Cracroft  -  BYU Dev., Dec. 10, 1996