Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The One Thing I Need Right Now...

With Christmas done I’ve been thinking about the new year and all of the changes that we are going to be making. I'm putting my house on the market at the end of January, selling most of the things I own, and moving out to a small condo by my kids in Utah.  I won't have seminary or yard work to keep me busy, and I will be leaving friends, extended family and everything I've known and am comfortable with. I don't know where all of this will lead, but it's something I have felt for a while now that God wants me to do.  For me it's a huge step in the dark, or rather a leap off the cliff into the abyss.

If I allow myself, fear can start to creep in and make me worry about how everything is going to work out. This morning I turned to the words of a man I greatly admire, Gordon B Hinckley. He reminded me about the power of faith. Faith in Jesus Christ and in His power to deliver us always dispels fear, and it gives us actual power to move forward and make things happen. When we know we are doing is what God wants us to do, then we can confidently expend our effort, knowing that He will have our back.

A few days ago, I was putting together scrapbook pages as a Christmas present for my kids. On one of the pages, I pasted a picture of my 8 year-old son, Cooper, lifting a heavy barbell. The photograph captured perfectly Cooper’s singleminded effort and determination.  I know all the power to lift that bar didn’t come just from Cooper’s will. I remembered watching Scott help them learn how to lift.  He placed his hands on the bar as well.  He made them struggle through each repetition, but at key moments he provided the additional strength that the boys had not yet acquired so that they could successfully complete their task.

If we can just remember that our Father In Heaven also desires to help us lift heavy burdens in our life, we will have the power to expend our energy with full confidence that the bar will rise.

Paul wrote to Timothy: “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Tim. 1:7–8).

When all is said and done Faith is our “only genuine and lasting hope"... and that great "moving power can change our lives.” - G B Hinckley

In our moments of struggling, that concept can be difficult to remember.  I think it is human nature to want to know the end from the beginning, but God's ways are not our ways. Like a headlamp in a dark cave, God’s pattern is to give us just enough information to light the path a few steps in front of us. Even though we cannot see very far ahead, He expects us to take steps forward, trusting that the light will move with us and continue to illuminate our path.

Complaining and wishing to know more will not change God’s pattern. 

  • The Red Sea did not part until the children of Israel had their feet in its waters and pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit at their backs.
  • The 5000 were not fed until all of the food that could be found was given to the Lord.
  • The woman with the issue of blood was not healed until she reached in faith for the Savior's hem
Over and over again in the scriptures, God expects us to act in faith before the miracle occurs. 

Why is this His pattern?

Making us expend our effort first grows our faith.

So when my faith muscle begins to tremble and feels like it's going to give out, I try to remember the promise of this same wise man who practiced using his faith for 97 years.

“It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us.” -Gordon B Hinkley

I know in my life, God has never forsaken me.  Help has always come when it was desperately needed, and it will come again.  All I have to do, is take my first step in the dark.