As a recent graduate from BYU-Provo, Sister Kimberly Thueson exited her workplace across from temple square to be met with a thought-provoking sight.
She described seeing a homeless man hunched over behind a cardboard sign which read, “NEED HELP TO GET HOME. GOD BLESS.”
Although she knew he must have been referring to some physical, earthy place, Thueson’s mind could not help but see the spiritual parallel in the wording of his sign. She immediately noticed the contrast between the lost, homeless man and the beautiful, bright temple that stood so near to his cardboard sign.
“In a split second, I thought of the light and truth, blessings and covenants, comfort and peace that are available to all who enter the Holy House of the Lord,” said Thueson in her address. “On that cold, winter night, I wanted so much to have him stand up, turn around, and fully understand the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the Holy House of God that was, literally, just steps away.”
Thueson then relayed how, as children of God, our desire to return home is unifying. She related ways of overcoming earthly homesickness to religious things like understanding the plan of salvation and utilizing prayer as ways to overcome spiritual homesickness.
She listed a number of additional gifts and blessings God has given us to aid in communicating with Him and bridging the gap between earth and heaven.
The Atonement, the Restoration, temples, living prophets and apostles, priesthood power and authority, and scriptures were all included in her list of additional blessings and signs of His love and desire to connect with us.
“Are you using these gifts and blessings to their full potential in your life? Are you leaving any of these gifts and blessings unused or unopened, and, therefore, unreceived?” Thueson asked. “If you will listen to the Spirit, you will recognize which of these gifts and blessings you might be able to incorporate more effectively into your life.”
She highlighted President Russell M. Nelson’s emphasis on the importance of receiving personal revelation as seen in his many talks since being called as prophet.
“In order to connect with Heaven and receive the revelation available to us, we need to make time for it, create a place for it, and put effort into it,” Thueson said.
She expressed how making time for God to guide us can mean doing something as simple as turning off the car radio and deliberately creating quiet time to hear the promptings of the Spirit.
Thueson went on to describe ways we can create “thin places” which she defined as “places where heaven and earth meet.” She encouraged all to create thin places in our own lives, so we always have access to an environment made for revelation seeking.
She referenced a quote about effort by President Nelson, “The Lord loves effort, because effort brings rewards that can’t come without it.”
As an example of effort, she addressed how Nephi reacted to God’s command to build a boat. Although Nephi did not know the particulars of boat making, he took several treks into the mountains where he received direct guidance from God through prayer. His climb and faith to ask the right questions was a mighty display of effort.
“As you work to make the time, place, and effort to connect with Heaven, your increased capacity to use personal revelation will enable you to more fully use the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the blessings of His Restored Gospel,” Thueson said.
She encouraged us to be more careful in leaving time for God to speak to us after our prayers but emphasized that proficiency in receiving clear revelation will take practice.
“Who is the person in your life who is holding that cardboard sign today? Is it someone close to you? Is it someone the Spirit has mentioned in passing? Is it you?” Thueson asked. “The Heavens are open; light and truth, knowledge and guidance from our Father in Heaven is readily available to us so that we can find our way home to Him again.”
Thueson’s full devotional address can be found on BYU-I’s devotional page.