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Dallan R. Moody, associate athletic director over finances, shared a message of faith and courage in his devotional address to students Tuesday in the Marriott Center. His talk, “What Happens When Life Gets One Degree Colder?” reflected an enduring message that his mission companion shared with him when they were serving in England.
On a cold, dreary day, when no one seemed to want to hear their message, Moody’s companion tried to lighten the mood by remarking, “It’s okay, Elder. It could be worse. It could be one degree colder right now.”
“What happens when it does get one degree colder?” Moody asked the students. “Or, for that matter, what happens when, metaphorically speaking, it gets 10 or even 50 degrees colder? In those times of trial, despair, fear, and worry, I say that is the time when the stage is best set for God to show forth his power. Indeed, it is often in the most dire of circumstances that God’s arm is revealed most miraculously.”
“Miracles require faith and generally some amount of courage and hope on our part,” he said, “as well as trust that God will always do his part . . . . In addition, the timing of his response could vary greatly from our expectation of timing. Yet in all cases, God’s involvement in our lives is carefully crafted to bring about the greatest good.
Moody and his wife, April, have four boys, one of whom, Caleb, was born without parts of his brain and missing an eye. Coming home with the newborn, Moody said the equipment needed and the exhausting responsibilities in caring for him might have looked like a hopeless situation, but the Lord blessed their family with many miracles.
“Angels in the form of ward members, family, friends and medical personnel came to our aid. We literally had meals brought in for three months. We had a competent and caring nurse, a doctor who made house calls, and family and neighbors that prayed mightily in our behalf. We could feel heaven’s hand upon us,” he said.
Caleb lived an extraordinary seven years, much longer than medical professionals thought he would.
“April purposefully chose hope and trust in the Lord,” Moody said. “To her core, she is happy and optimistic. With God’s help, she took what could have been a terrifying trial and reshaped it. She took a corner of heaven and pulled it right down into our home, opening it up for all to enjoy.”
Moody said his wife made every day a celebration with Caleb. She made him a birthday cake after his first week, cupcakes for his second week, cookies for his third week, and so on.
“In what might have looked like a burdensome task to others, caring for Caleb became a privilege,” he said. “Though his body was misshapen and broken, his spirit was whole, noble and great. Being in his presence was healing and heavenly.”
On Feb. 10, Caleb slipped peacefully away, Moody said, being held in the arms of his mother and surrounded by his family.
“I have heroes in my life: Joseph Smith, Captain Moroni, Ammon, and others,” Moody said. “On that day, my wife was my hero. She bravely and tenderly leaned down to hug Caleb. She whispered in his ear, ‘I love you, Caleb. I am so proud of you. If your body is too tired, it’s okay. You can go back. You can return to Heavenly Father.’”
Moody said his wife trusted God because she knew God. She knew that God could understand her personally, in a way that few others could—God had also lost a son.
“God provides the plan, and we contribute the faith and courage,” Moody said. “We trust in His timing and in His ways to achieve His purposes; even when, and probably especially when, such purposes may be unclear from our perspective.”
“With God nothing is impossible,” he said, “especially when life is hard and it is 10 degrees colder outside . . . . All this time I had thought that we were taking care of Caleb, but in reality, God through Caleb had been taking care of us.”