Among the signs of the true church, and included in the evidences of God’s work in the world, are the manifestations of his power which we are helpless to explain or to fully understand. In the scriptures these divine acts and special blessings are variously referred to as miracles or signs or wonders or marvels. Not surprisingly, these signs and marvels were most evident in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the very Son of God himself. But startling and wonder-filled as they were, Christ’s many miracles were only reflections of those greater marvels which his Father had performed before him and continues to perform all around us. Indeed, the Savior’s humble performance of such obviously divine acts may be just one very special application of the declarations he made: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” and “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me”. For example, the first miracle by Jesus recorded in the New Testament was the turning of water into wine at the marriage at Cana. But poor, indeed, was the making of the wine in the pots of stone, compared with its original making in the beauty of the vine and the abundance of the swelling grapes. No one could explain the onetime miracle at the wedding feast, but then neither could they explain the everyday miracle of the splendor of the vineyard itself. It is most remarkable to witness one who is deaf made to hear again. But surely that great blessing is no more startling than the wondrous combination of bones and skin and nerves that lets our ears receive the beautiful world of sound. Should we not stand in awe of the blessing of hearing and give glory to God for that miracle, even as we do when hearing is restored after it has been lost? Is it not the same for the return of one’s sight or the utterance of our speech, or even that greatest miracle of all—the restoration of life? The original creations of the Father constitute a truly wonder-filled world. Are not the greatest miracles the fact that we have life and limb and sight and speech in the first place? Yes, there will always be plenty of miracles if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Just one other reminder. Once we start to recognize the many miraculous and blessed manifestations of God and Christ in our lives—the everyday variety as well as restored sight to the blind and restored hearing to the deaf—we may be truly bewildered at the unexplainable principles and processes that bring about such wonders.
Miracles are everywhere to be found when the priesthood is understood, its power is honored and used properly, and faith is exerted. When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes. The call of duty can come quietly as we who hold the priesthood respond to the assignments we receive. President George Albert Smith, that modest but effective leader, declared, “It is your duty first of all to learn what the Lord wants and then by the power and strength of His holy Priesthood to [so] magnify your calling in the presence of your fellows … that the people will be glad to follow you.” Such a call of duty—a much less dramatic call but one which nonetheless helped to save a soul—came to me in 1950 when I was a newly called bishop. My responsibilities as a bishop were many and varied, and I tried to the best of my ability to do all that was required of me. The United States was engaged in a different war by then. Because many of our members were serving in the armed services, an assignment came from Church headquarters for all bishops to provide each serviceman a subscription to the Church News and the Improvement Era, the Church’s magazine at that time. In addition, each bishop was asked to write a personal, monthly letter to each serviceman from his ward. Our ward had 23 men in uniform. The priesthood quorums, with effort, supplied the funds for the subscriptions to the publications. I undertook the task, even the duty, to write 23 personal letters each month. After all these years I still have copies of many of my letters and the responses received. Tears come easily when these letters are reread. It is a joy to learn again of a soldier’s pledge to live the gospel, a sailor’s decision to keep faith with his family.