Saturday, April 15, 2017

Uncertainty certainly is certain

If you are like me, you enjoy making a plan of how things will turn out, and how things ought to be. I create a plan of how each day will go, how each week will end up, and how every semester will follow through. I'm currently working on a graduation plan that will let me double major. However, I have seen time and time again that my plans do not come to pass exactly how I had planned them and that they often get changed altogether. Sometimes, it can make me rather frustrated, being that I can't determine what my near future will yield. Along with that, there are things that I cannot plan, which can be crucially important. Even the most meticulous planner will be foiled when she or he embarks in the realm we call life. "Drat! My plans have been foiled", says the planner, so dependent on what she or he had previously determined what would happen.

The Gospel teaches us that we must not only expect uncertainty in our lives, but be able to adapt to whatever comes our way and adjust our attitudes and lifestyles accordingly. It is fortunate that we can receive revelation and guidance for what we ought to do in unplanned circumstances. The Lord revealed the method of receiving revelation in D&C 8:

2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.

The Lord will reveal to us certain truths to our hearts and our minds, but he will do it when we demonstrate faith in him, when we take steps into the uncertain future.  This is demonstrated by referring to Moses crossing the red sea with the children of Israel. They had to demonstrate their faith and walk into the unknown before the sea was parted. To me, this scripture is saying that we need to take the next step if we want to know what the next step is. The Lord will reveal what we need to know when we are ready to receive it, but he will do it in his own time and at the right time. I'm posting this because I'm quite anxious about what can happen in the next three weeks of my life, but if you are you, I hope that you can take a step of faith with me and trust in the Lord, because we will not let us down.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Fanciful Flowers Offering Potent Principles.

Boyd K. Packer had the magnificent hobby of bird watching. No wonder he was such a great man. He was also great at learning from the nature he observed, and pulling life-long lessons out of animal behavior and natural phenomena. A scripture, on which his book The Earth Shall Teach Thee is based, is found in Job 12:7-8.

7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.

After pondering this scripture, I thought of some other scriptures that teach the same lesson; that we can learn from the Lord's creations. Jesus was the master of pulling these lessons from the earth. One is found in the sermon on the mount, where he says:

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin (Matthew 6)

Jesus remarks on the simplicity of how the flowers of the filed grow and live. The complex molecular structures of a plant perform an overall-simple process: taking in CO2 through the pores of their leaves and water through their roots to create carbohydrates that will provide additional structure and growth for the plant.

I've read this scripture various times, and it has reminded me to simplify my thoughts in the past, and it has returned to do so again. When we have so much going on in our life, we tend to get all jumbled up about the future and getting everything done. In this scripture, the Savior asks us to take a step back and think about the simplicity of a flower's life. They do not worry or complain about what they ought to do, they just do it. Obviously, it's easier said then done (considering that lilies don't have brains). However, if we take a step back, consider our blessings, realize we don't have to do everything in this very instant, only what we can do today, and have a little faith, then the things we need to do become easier to do. We won't be weighed down by unnecessary troubles of the future. We will recognize that everything is possible one step at a time.

I think about this as finals approaches and as I plan for the next step in my academic plan, but I also think about how the Savior wants us to become more like him one step at a time; grace by grace. I can imagine that many of us have gotten frustrated at one point because we're not as Christ-like as we would like to be in a certain point of time. Then we begin to think about all the things we need to improve on and it overwhelms us. That's not what our Heavenly Father wants us to do. He is patient with us, so he wants us to be patient with ourselves as we try to progress heavenward. He certainly knows that we can't do everything at once, but by doing things one by one we can accomplish anything. It will be of great benefit to us all to take a step back once in a while, consider the lilies, and modify our daily lifestyle to follow the example they set.