Today I’m sharing a beautiful Valentine story from Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which he told during a General Conference talk in April 1988 (and of course, there’s also music!).
“My family and I recently had a simple but impressive experience with one of God’s creations. I gave my wife, Barbara, a dozen roses for a valentine. They were a delicate shade of peach in color and had a rich scent.
Barbara put them in a vase and placed them on the table in our family room. As the days passed, the family watched the blossoms unfold from buds to full flower.
As I watched this miracle, I became curious about roses. I was amazed to learn from a botanist friend that there are thousands of different varieties of roses. Inside each rose is a giant storehouse of genetic coding that develops a seed or a slip into roots, stems, thorns, leaves, colors, and blooms.
Each rose is a compact chemical-processing factory. Using sunlight, the green leaves take carbon dioxide from the air and replace it with oxygen, which we breathe. When other chemicals within the plant react with sunlight, it produces starch that becomes food. As you know, this process is called photosynthesis, and without it the earth’s atmosphere would soon be devoid of oxygen, and most living things would disappear from the earth.
My friend told me that the chemical energy and the electrical energy our brains were using at that very moment were once sunlight that was absorbed by the chlorophyll in green vegetation we previously had eaten.
This experience led me to consider the myriad forms of plant and animal life that thrive in astounding balance upon the earth. My esteem for our little roses took on an element of wonder and reverence. I pondered the power of the creative genius who lovingly provided such marvels for his children. I thought then how important it is for every human soul to see and appreciate the glory and grandeur of God in everything about us. Into my mind came the words and message of a beautiful hymn:
When thru the woods and forest glades I wander,And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,When I look down from lofty mountain grandeurAnd hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze,Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,How great thou art! How great thou art!
I felt a deep reverence for both the creation and the Creator.
…Truly, the heavens and the earth and all things in them evidence the handiwork of God, their Creator.
Again, the words of the hymn came to mind:
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonderConsider all the worlds thy hands have made,I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,Thy pow’r thruout the universe displayed;Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,How great thou art! How great thou art!
To truly reverence the Creator, we must appreciate his creations. We need to plan to take time to observe the marvels of nature. Today, we can easily become surrounded by brick buildings and asphalt surfaces that shelter us from real life around us. Plan to share with your family the miracle of buds changing to fragrant blossoms. Take time to sit on a hillside and feel the tranquility of the evening when the sun casts its last golden glow over the horizon.
Take time to smell the roses.
All the marvels of nature are glimpses of his divine power and expressions of his love. Yet the greatest of all miracles awaits us. It will occur when, by his power, we will come forth from death and the grave to a new world that will not pass away, where, if we are worthy, we will be with him and our Father in Heaven forever and ever.
And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,That on the cross my burden gladly bearingHe bled and died to take away my sin,Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,How great thou art! How great thou art!
– Excerpts from the talk “God’s Love For His Children“, M. Russell Ballard, April General Conference 1988
You can read more about God’s love and His plan for your life, here.
Enjoy listening to this beautiful rendition of the hymn “How Great Thou Art“! ♥ – MoSop