I had the thought to post this weeks ago. Tonight, in the temple I had the thought return. Below is one of my favorite stories from Elder Enzio Busche's biography "Yearning for the Living God" which is beyond incredible.
The following experience is probably one of the most sacred in my whole life. It happened in the very beginning of my service as a General Authority, after I moved to the United States. I was still very new and inexperienced, and I had to rely completely on the Spirt to be able to the many things I had to do.
On one trip, on assignment as an executive administrator, I gave a talk on welfare to a lovely group of people. I thought the in a special meeting and spoke about faith and the dimensions of faith and the importance of developing it. I quoted from Matthew 17 to explain how the Lord expected His disciples to have faith and how frustrated He was when they did not have enough faith to cast out an evil spirit.
I quoted the scripture in order to show our need not only to view faith as a thought or feeling , but also as a power with which we can control or even change the circumstances of this world.
That evening I... stayed in the basement of the mission home that night. I was awaken by the mission president around 1:00 AM. One of the mission president's stalwart missionaries that evening had been possessed by an evil spirit. His shocked companion did not know what to do so he ran to the mission home. The mission president had tried to cast out the evil spirit but had failed. He began to panic, but then realized that he had a General Authority in the basement. That was when he came down to wake me up.
It hit me like a hammer that the very day I had been speaking about that script from Matthew, I was confronted with the same situation. I was very uncomfortable and asked the mission president to give me a little time. I want ed to get dressed first. I immediately began to pray with a deep, fervent plea for help. I felt so helpless because I had never been in a situation like that. Crazy thoughts came to my mind. For instance, I wished i had stayed in a motel..
I finally dressed and had no further excuse to tarry longer, so I went upstairs, as I went up, I heard noised and unintelligible sounds, and fear began to creep into my heart. I felt that fear come from the ground below, trying to sneak into my system.
When I got to the living room, I saw the elder sitting in a chair, shaking all over, making uncontrollable movements, speaking with foam on his lips. His companion and the mission president and his family were all staring at the spectacle with shock and fear.
As I entered the room, it was like a voice said to me "Brother Busche, you must make a decision now" I knew immediately what decision it was. I had to decide whether to join the fear and amazement and helplessness or to let faith act and let courage come in. I wanted to have faith. I wanted to have the power, the priesthood power, and I wanted to know what to do.
In that moment two scriptures came to my mind. Moroni 8:16 "Perfect love casteth out all fear". And 1 John 4:18 "Perfect love casteth out fear". But I did not have love. I had fear. What do we do when we have fear, but not love? Moroni 7:48, where the Lord points out how we can gain love: "wherefore,... pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love."
I prayed with all the energy of my hear. "Father, fill my soul with love." I cried from the depths of my being, without wasting any time. It all happened in a split second. After that, it was as if my skull was opened and a warm feeling poured down into my soul-down my head, my neck, my chest. As it was pouring down, it drove out all of the fear. My shivering knees stopped shaking. i stood there, a big smile came to my face- a smile of deep, satisfying joy and confidence. Suddenly, those in the room looked not scary, but amusing. It was just funny to see them all there.
I learned in that moment that when we are under the influence of the Spirit, we can find a sense of humor, and the ability to smile and to not take ourselves too seriously, and we can laugh at ourselves. Then it dawned on me that the adversary's weapons are sarcasm, irony and cynicism, but that the Lord's power is a gentle sense of humor. I have learned more and more since then that adversary cannot deal with a sense of humor. He does not have a sense of humor; he does not even know what that is. He is always dead serious. When you have a sense of humor, you are in control of the adversary's influence.
To read the rest of Elder Busche's experience go read his book. It's on page 271. As for humor, I believe this is so true. I think about when I am separated from the Spirit, overwhelmed with difficulties or as in times past, in "despair because of iniquity" I have always lost my sense of humor, and when I have done what is right, let Heavenly Father take presidence and Christ's atonement take priority I have always found my smile and the ability to meekly laugh at myself and the silliness of others.
Tonight, in the temple, a prayer was said. I was so touched by the words of the prayer: "we are thankful for those that have forgiven us. And we ask for the strength to return this blessing to those who need our forgiveness."
I hope we will forgive each other faster than our natural tendency tell us to, and that we will stop being so dead serious about things that were never meant to harm or injure. I know I can do so much better at remembering to laugh with a gentle sense of humor.