By Jon M. Taylor
I once attended a sacrament meeting in North Salt Lake on a hot summer afternoon. The air conditioning was not working, so doors and windows were open to cool the chapel. During the sacrament, a hornet flew in and buzzed around the bishopric and speakers on the stand.
I watched as the hornet tormented these hapless people. Some were cowering in fear, while others were swatting with their hands or hymn books. It soon became obvious to all those attending that this was a disturbance that would not go away.
When the bishop rose to open the meeting, the insect got into the act and buzzed around him over and over. He tried to act unperturbed and continued his announcements while trying with one hand to divert the hornet away from the stand.
Then the song conductor rose to lead the opening song.. The hornet went right after her, and she was swatting away at the hornet while waving the baton – a comical scene for such a sacred occasion.
When the bishop rose again to give some announcements, he was greatly flustered and ineffective in communicating because of this trespasser. A shared feeling of discomfort and frustration seemed to envelope the whole congregation.
As I sat near the back corner on one side of the chapel, I witnessed this scene at first with amusement. However, my feelings turned to anxiety as the hornet became successful in driving the Spirit of the Lord from the meeting.
I began to feel indignant. Was not this the Lord’s work? What right did this hornet have to disrupt the spirit of this sacred meeting? Yet the hornet could not understand the consequences of what it was doing, so something had to be done to stop it. But the individuals on the stand had tried in vain to fend off the intruder.
As these thoughts went through my mind, I began to pray in my heart that something would be done to allow the meeting to go on undisturbed. Then this scripture flashed through my mind: “. . . all flesh is in mine hands.” (D&C 101:16) I also remembered Nephi’s teaching that “the Lord giveth no commandments to the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (INephi 3:7) We were attending sacrament meeting as commanded (D&C 59:9), so this hornet was literally interfering with our keeping a commandment of the Lord – at least with the proper spirit.
Another scripture came to mind. When Christ visited the Nephites after his resurrection, he promisted, “And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believeing ye shall recive, behold, it shall be given nto you.” (3Nephi 18:20). What could be more right than to get rid of this hornet which was interfering with our sacrament service?
I felt I had my answer. Through faithful obedience the Lord can give us the power to overcome all things. (D&C 50:35) That would have to include this menacing intruder, blatantly disturbing the Lord’s servants who were merely doing their duty. Again, since the Lord had said, “All flesh is in mine hands,” that would have to include this hornet.
So I said a silent prayer to the Lord for help. The request seemed appropriate, for we were met to worship the Lord, and this interference was surely displeasing to Him.
I removed a handkerchief from my pocket, and held it cupped in my open hand, facing the stand. Then I silently prayed, “Heavenly Father, all flesh is in thy hands. Send that hornet to me, and I will take care of it.”
Immediately the hornet left the stand and flew directly towards me – clear across the chapel to where I was seated. I quickly grabbed the hornet in my handkerchief, squeezed it firmly in my right hand, and placed the handkerchief in my pocket. The meeting went on, undisturbed by the hornet, which was now dead in my pocket.
The meeting went on, and the spirit of the Lord returned. I sat there, stunned at how literally the Lord keeps his promises. And my faith in the Lord’s willingness to answer prayers – even for small but justified requests – was strengthened.