Nov 02 2012

This Miracle Was for the Birds

Published by at 6:53 am under General

We had a great sacrament meeting last Sunday. One of our little Beehives gave her first talk, and the choir did a great job on one of my favorite hymns. But the highlight was the missionary report given by Chad Gravallese, who just returned from a two-year assignment in the England Leeds Mission.

Chad gave a great talk, with several things I want to think about later on. But the showstopper was a story he told about teaching a Chinese man the gospel, and an experience he and his companion had with him.

The Chinese man was a superstitious older gentleman. He was always looking for signs and wonders. This was a little bit frustrating for the missionaries, who did not think that God was going to come down from His throne and tell their investigator to join the Church.

One day when they met with the man, he informed them that if a pigeon was in front of his house when he got home, he’d take that as a sign that he was supposed to be baptized. As they walked the man home, they told him what a foolish thing this was. They reminded him of the Savior’s words in Matthew 12:39 about how it is “evil and adulterous” to seek signs.  God just doesn’t work that way, they told him.

They went inside the man’s house and had a good discussion with him, telling him how we need to study things out in our minds and then pray to know whether they are true. This is the way God answers prayers, the missionaries said.

This sounded reasonable to the older gentleman. After praying with the missionaries and by himself, he conceded that the missionaries made sense and agreed to be baptized. They set a date, and all was well. Then the new convert walked the missionaries to his front door.

There, parked directly in front of the man’s house, was a whole truck of pigeons. Not a pigeon, mind you — a whole truck of them.

I’ve never even heard of a truck of pigeons. Who would put pigeons in a truck, and why? But God knew there was a truck of pigeons in Northern England, and for reasons of His own He inspired the driver to park in front of that particular house at that particular time.

This reminds me of the scripture that says, “Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6). That’s exactly what happened in this case. The man wanted a sign, but the missionaries inspired him to take a leap of faith. After he took that leap of faith, he was given not just the pigeon he asked for, but a whole truckload of them.

Whoever says that God doesn’t have a sense of humor is not acquainted with God. Just look at nature. We have platypuses. We have giraffes. We have Kathy, Queen of the Universe. There are evidences of God’s playfulness everywhere you look.

A friend of mine, Wally Goddard, once wrote an article called, “The Cheeriest Person in the Universe.” When you read the article, you learned that the “cheeriest person” is God. (I’d link to the article, but Meridian Magazine is notorious for having a messed-up archive. All I got when I tried to find it was Wally’s picture, which is cheery in its own right, and the article’s title.)

Even if his article is lost in the ether, Wally was right. God isn’t just a grumpy old dude sitting on a rock somewhere. He has joy, and He wants joy for us.

If you’re not happy, something is wrong. Happiness is a choice. Nobody knew it better than Marjorie Pay Hinckley, who had this to say about life:

The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”

Don’t give yourself a headache. Go out and laugh. Make somebody else laugh too. If having a sense of humor is good enough for God, it’s certainly good enough for those of us who are trying to emulate Him.  Find yourself a truckload of pigeons, and have a field day.


4 responses so far

4 Responses to “This Miracle Was for the Birds”

  1. Lynneon 02 Nov 2012 at 8:49 am

    I will remember the story of the Chinese man and the pigeons. What a story! The advice to laugh through life is a good one.

  2. Dianaon 03 Nov 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I love love love this story!!! Thanks for sharing it although I would have preferred hearing it in person, sitting in the algonkian ward chapel while my kids snacked on cheerios.

  3. Lorraine Kelleyon 07 Nov 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I love Kathy’s words, her title and Chad’s story. That is a story he never told us. Chad had a wonderful mission and it’s great to have him home to hear more amazing experiences from him.

  4. Kathyon 09 Nov 2012 at 8:50 am

    Chad is a winner, Lorraine. What a good kid!

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