The Official Website of Kendel Christensen

               I have a lot of heroes. But this past week I had the singular honor to witness a friend of mine make what is likely the most important promise of his life: the commitment of marriage. Any outside observer would probably have seen the event as a simple ceremony, nothing too remarkable stood out. Marriages happen every day, after all.

               But my friend didn’t become one of my heroes because he does things like everyone else. To the perceptive observer, one could have seen enough in that simple ceremony to inspire awe and renewed reverence for the tender mercies of life—the small miracles we all have the privilege to participate in. In that ceremony, I was witness to examples of three such miracles. These were: The miracle of patience, the miracle of love, and the miracle of perspective.

A Miracle of Patience
               My friend is one of those people who, even if you only talk to him briefly, strikes you as someone who has figured some things out about life. You can tell he asks deep questions and has paid the
truth-seeker’s price to find real answers, and then passionately applies truth once he has discovered it. In spite of his virtuous life, however, his righteous desire to wed has been fraught with frustration and disappointment. Yet, despite absolutely justifiable reasons to doubt and reject the promises of living the Gospel, my friend understood that patience—true patience—is not “shoulder-shrugging resignation” but rather “obedience prolonged” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Patience,” BYU Devotional, 27 November 1979). The very fact that he made it to this day with a smile on his face and genuine faith in his eyes was enough to warrant tear-filled admiration from me, and a choir’s tribute from heaven above(which, I’m not entirely sure didn’t happen, after hearing his wife sing to him as part of the program). I witnessed a miracle. A miracle of patience.

A Miracle of Love
               My friend and his new wife had “the glow.” It was readily seen that they were united, happy, and excited for this day. Their love could be seen and felt by all who were present. Yet, underneath the surface of their love for one another, was something even stronger. Their love was not rooted in infatuation, mutual fulfillment, or even sexual desire—as good and necessary as those things are to marriage. The miracle I witnessed that day was a love rooted in a complete and utter giving of themselves individually and as a couple to Jesus Christ. They made a promise to us, each other, and God, that they would “keep their eyes foremost on the Savior.” It is one of the inexplicable but completely fitting puzzles of the gospel:  outward love grows when our inward life looks to Christ above all else. It was a miracle. A miracle of love.

A Miracle of Perspective
               My friend tries to be purposeful and thoughtful in what he does. He looks at the bigger picture—outside himself, reverencing the past, and looking toward the future. At a time when all the attention was on him (indeed, we live in a society that preaches that life is “all about you”), one of the first things he wanted acknowledged was his gratitude for the influence and help of others.  With heart-filled emotion he said that, “our lives are largely the result of those that touched ours.” In the same vein, he had sewn into his suit coat 4th Nephi 1: 11, “And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them.” After the ceremony, my friend confided in me that he had this scripture sewn on, not because of the promises he and his wife personally looked forward to, but rather to remind them that the multitude of promises also includes promises made to those that came before and those that will come after. They had at the forefront of their mind that their children’s lives are primarily determined by how they, as parents, live up to the promises they made with God. And they do not take those promises lightly. It was a miracle. A miracle of perspective.

               Thanks, man. Thanks for being “an example of the believers” (1 Tim. 4:12) and for reminding me what it means to live deliberately. It has had more of an effect on me—and so many others—than you know. 

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