When I was bishop of Redondo III, one of my first counselors told me he was moving. As I started to think and pray about a new counselor, I was inspired to call my ward financial clerk, Lewis Cobabe.
Lewis had been the original bishop of RIII and also the Stake President. He was known to be a little sharp at time and also tended to use profanity at work. However Lewis and I got along well, the spirit was telling me he was the correct choice, and so I took the name to the stake presidency for approval.
When I told them who I felt the Lord wanted, they were all shocked. All of them had worked with Lewis and infact the stake president had been one of his counselors. The second counselor had been in the stake high council when Lewis was president. Each of them gave me some good reasons why they did not think Lewis would make a good counselor. One told me that he did not work well with youth and as second counselor he would be over the YM and YW program. Another suggested he was not very good as a follower. They also brought up the fact that he had served both as bishop and stake president and wondered how this would affect how he served. I told them that I was aware of most of Lewis’ attributes – good and bad – but since I was sure he was the Lord’s choice, I still thought he was to be my counselor so they said they would consider my choice.
After the meeting I started thinking about what they had said and so I went to the Lord and asked for further confirmation, but none came. Over the next few weeks I heard from the stake president that they were still considering the calling and each at times expressed their doubts. Although I had no new spiritual confirmation, I continued to back Lewis as the Lord’s choice, and finally they agreed. With some surprise Lewis accepted the calling and he was to be sustained the next Sunday.
All during this time I was praying and telling the Lord that if I had misunderstood about Lewis, I could still make a change. Nothing came from the prayers. I continued praying about this through the Sunday morning and even into the sacrament meeting. Nothing! Finally it got to the time when the president was getting up to make the change.
At that time as clearly as if He was speaking to me, I was told that yes Lewis was the Lord’s choice. And then the Lord told me that in the future when He had given me an answer to pray through the spirit, that I was not to bother Him again about the same subject.
I learned a great lesson that day and Lewis proved to be one of the best counselors I had while I was bishop. We shared a major experience of building a new chapel and I will tell about that another day.