Elder Dale G. Renlund: ‘Through God’s Eyes’

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Credit: IRI

“To effectively serve others, we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes,” said Elder Dale G. Renlund in his first address after being called to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“Only then can we begin to comprehend the true worth of a soul. Only then can we sense the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. Only then can we sense the Savior’s caring concern for them.”

Sharing brief remarks about his recent call to serve as an Apostle, Elder Renlund said, “My call gives ample evidence to the truthfulness of the Lord’s statement early in this dispensation, ‘that the fullness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world. …’

“This calling is not about me,” he said. “It’s about the Lord, His work, and Heavenly Father’s children. No matter what the assignment or calling is in the Church, to serve capably, one must serve knowing that everyone we serve ‘is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such … has a divine nature and destiny.’

Speaking about his professional life as a cardiologist who specialized in heart failure and transplantation, Elder Renlund spoke of the process he went through as he worked with many critically ill patients. Because of the nature of his job, he saw many people die, and because of that, he developed a kind of emotional distance when things went poorly.

“That way, feelings of sadness and disappointment were tempered,” he said.

In 1986, a young man named Chad developed heart failure and needed a heart transplant. He did very well for a decade and a half, and did all he could to stay healthy and live as normal a life as possible. Then one evening, Chad was brought to the hospital’s emergency room in full cardiac arrest. After working for a long time to restore his life, Elder Renlund decided it was time to declare him dead.

Although he was sad and disappointed, Elder Renlund thought of the life Chad was able to have. But when Chad’s parents came into the room the emotional distance he had developed shattered.

“For the first time, I saw Chad through his mother’s and father’s eyes. I saw the great hopes and expectations they had had for him, the desire they had that he would live just a little bit longer and a little bit better.

“With this realization, I began to weep,” he said. “In an ironic reversal of roles and in an act of kindness I will never forget, Chad’s parents comforted me.”

Individuals cannot completely fulfill their covenant obligation to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort unless they see them through God’s eyes, the new apostle taught. That expanded perspective will open hearts to the disappointments, fears and heartaches of others. And Heavenly Father will aid and comfort.

“We need to have eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that know and feel if we are to accomplish the rescue so frequently encouraged by President Thomas S. Monson,” he said.

As individuals see through Heavenly Father’s eyes they can be filled with the “pure love of Christ,” he said. “Every day we should plead with God for this love.” @marianne_holman

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