Writing "Consider the Lilies"
At the time I wrote "Consider the Lilies," my wife, Melanie and I had spent five years (now forty) following the Lord's commandment to put the kingdom of God first, believing that he would add everything else we needed. It seemed the Lord would send what we needed in the way of work or help just when we needed it. Miraculously, we had survived! This allowed us to use our time to teach his Gospel through music. This kind providence had become such a regular occurrence for us that we wanted to tell others about it.
One day, as I was sitting at the piano in our chapel, (we didn't have a piano at home) I found my fingers wandering over the piano keys. I noticed what I was playing and thought, "This is better than what I write" so I repeated it in my mind so I wouldn't forget it. Once the melody had become locked into my consciousness, words began to form in my mind,
"Consider the lilies of the field,
how they grow, how they grow."
I grabbed my pencil and began writing. As quickly as I could write, the words continued,
"Consider the birds in the sky,
How they fly, how they fly.
He clothes the lilies of the field.
He feeds the birds in the sky.
And he will feed those who trust him,
And guide them with His eye."
I was pretty excited! Here was a way to share this beautiful principle!
The words kept coming,
"Consider the sheep of his fold,
How they follow where he leads.
Though the path may wind across the mountains,
He knows the meadows where they feed."
I thought of how Nephi and Lehi had been led on their way through "the more fertile parts of the wilderness..." and how He had fed Moses and the children of Israel. Again, the chorus re-assured me,
"He clothes the lilies of the field.
He feeds the birds in the sky,
And he will feed those who trust him,
And guide them with his eye."
I was so happy that the message had been so beautifully delivered to me, gratefully acknowledging the power that had presented this song to my mind. I was about to rise from the piano bench and go home, when I felt a kind of downward tug, and sat down at the bench again. The message came clearly into my mind, "I'm not finished yet."
I sat down picked up my pencil and the verse began,
"Consider the sweet, tender children
Who must suffer on this earth..."
I panicked. I was afraid to tackle a subject of such magnitude. I thought, "My pen is too small to deal with a problem so great." The thought came into my mind, "You're not writing this, anyway." I then remembered someone very dear to me who once said she had a hard time understanding why God would allow little children to be abused, and I had a great desire to help her and me understand this subject better and be comforted. This urged me on. So, tremulously, I continued, pausing and waiting and thinking.
The pains of all of them he carried
From the day of his birth.
He clothes the lilies of the field,
He feeds the lambs in His fold,
And he will heal those who trust him,
And make their hearts as gold."
I could not contain my feelings. I wept profusely. The love I felt was so powerful that I was overcome. (In fact, for the rest of the day, I felt somewhat removed from this sphere.)
My soul vibrated with the message I had just written, for my own suffering and weakness had been taken in hand by the Wonderful Counselor, and where once there was darkness, light by light, strand by strand, he rewove the fabric of my heart with threads of purest gold, so that my mind and heart have been enlarged and purified to make me more like him.
This is Jesus' Way. He tells us plainly that he has given us weakness to bring us to him. When we come to him, he forgives us, he teaches, counsels, and heals us, replacing evil with good, pouring himself, His light and truth, into us in a spiritual transformation where his light replaces our darkness. The light he has put into us works its way through everything we know and feel and draws us to even greater light. One day, if we continue, we will be like him, for his light will have chased every trace of darkness from us, and will have drawn into us all the light he has.