Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and serves as the Ward Mission Leader in the Annapolis, Maryland Ward.
While I was on vacation in Utah in April 2010 I received a telephone call from my brother-in-law in Manassas Virginia informing me that the life of the older of my two sisters was hanging in the balances. She had gone to the doctor that morning for what was supposed to be a routine procedure, and things had not gone well. My heart raced and my mind began to fill with questions such as, “Why has this happened?” I also became somewhat anxious wondering if I would ever see my sister alive again. Even though I was in the company of good friends, for a brief time I felt so all alone and helpless. I did the only thing that I knew to do at that time. I called out to my Heavenly Father pleading for help for my sister, for peace and comfort for me and my family, and the strength to get through this storm. I am a witness that God does hear and answer our prayers and that heartfelt sincere prayer can traverse any distance. Two years have come and gone since that day and my sister still remains in a vegetative state in a skilled nursing home, but I know that it has only been through the tender mercies of the Lord that she is still here with her family. I have a firm testimony that nothing in this life happens by accident or per chance. I believe that the Lord has a purpose and plan for all things, and that the trials and adversities that we face are there to help make us stronger still.
In November 2010 I had surgery on my right eye to remove a large cataract. The doctors were concerned because of the size and density of the cataract, and the fact that it appeared to be growing at a faster than normal rate. It was hoped that the operation would clear up the vision in my right eye, but that proved not to be the case. After many follow-up doctor appointments to treat infections, inflammation, and swelling in the eye, and a second operation, the vision in my right eye is still almost non-existent. It would be easy to get discouraged at times, but I take comfort in the fact that the Lord has blessed me with almost perfect vision in my other eye which enables me to continue on each day to do those things that need to be done. This is another trial in my life that I must face and overcome, but I know that there is a purpose for it all, and that the Lord has everything under control. I am now facing a third operation on my right eye at the end of this month, and I do so knowing that the Master Physician will be in the operating room throughout the entire procedure, recovery time, and thereafter.
One of my favorite Book of Mormon scriptures is found in Helaman 5:12, “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” I am so thankful that my faith is built upon the Solid Rock, the Sure Foundation, which is Christ Jesus our Lord. As long as I am faithful and obedient to His will, and learn to put my trust for all things that come my way in life in His hands, I know that everything will be alright. His promise to the Apostle Paul also applies to me and my life. The Savior told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” And like the Apostle Paul I can say with calm assurance, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”, for indeed I know and testify that His grace is more than sufficient.
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