Wednesday, February 4, 2015

“Lord, Save Me.”

As Christ’s disciples had set out on one of their frequent journeys across the Sea of Galilee, the night was dark and the elements were strong and contrary. The waves were boisterous and the wind was bold, and these mortal, frail men were frightened. Unfortunately there was no one with them to calm and save them, for Jesus had been left alone upon the shore.”

As always, he was watching over them. He loved them and cared for them. In their moment of greatest extremity they looked and saw in the darkness an image in a fluttering robe, walking toward them on the ridges of the sea. They cried out in terror at the sight, thinking that it was a phantom that walked upon the waves. And through the storm and darkness to them—as so often to us, when, amid the darknesses of life, the ocean seems so great and our little boats so small—there came the ultimate and reassuring voice of peace with this simple declaration, “It is I; be not afraid.” Peter exclaimed, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” And Christ’s answer to him was the same as to all of us: “Come.”

Peter sprang over the vessel’s side and into the troubled waves, and while his eyes were fixed upon the Lord, the wind might toss his hair and the spray might drench his robes, but all was well. Only when with wavering faith he removed his glance from the Master to look at the furious waves and the black gulf beneath him, only then did he begin to sink. Again, like most of us, he cried, “Lord, save me.” Nor did Jesus fail him. He stretched out his hand and grasped the drowning disciple with the gentle rebuke, “O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?”

Then safely aboard their little craft, they saw the wind fall and the crash of the waves become a ripple. Soon they were at their haven, their safe port, where all would one day hope to be. The crew as well as his disciples were filled with deep amazement. Some of them addressed him by a title which I declare today: “Truly thou art the Son of God.” (Adapted from Farrar, The Life of Christ, pp. 310–13; see Matt. 14:22–33.)

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve said in his talk Free Forever, to Act for Themselves:

"God does not save us 'just as we are,' first, because 'just as we are' we are unclean, and 'no unclean thing can dwell … in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man [of Holiness].' And second, God will not act to make us something we do not choose by our actions to become. Truly He loves us, and because He loves us, He neither compels nor abandons us. Rather He helps and guides us. Indeed, the real manifestation of God’s love is His commandments."

God will not force us to do anything. Agency is so important to him, that he lost a third of his children over it.

Just as Peter, we begin our journey in this life with our eyes fixed toward Christ. And just as Peter, we progress on our journey across the waves of life and we find that our faith may waver. We doubt, we sink in our lack of faith, in our sins, in our mortality.

The Savior though always there for us, will not act upon us unless we choose to do so by our own agency. He offered himself up as a sacrifice so that the atonement could be utilized in all of our lives. It is up to us if we want to take advantage of that gift of the atonement, if we want to act upon our faith and call on our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to save us. 

One of the most difficult things that I've experienced is seeing someone I love dearly lose sight of the Savior. The winds and waves of life have caused fear and doubt. They've lost their way and they're sinking. And because of their agency, I can't force them to grab my hand, or call out for the Savior to help them. Accepting that all I can do is love and pray for them is impossibly hard.

If anyone out there feels like there is not hope, no winning, no solution, zero optimism, or feel like you're too far gone, know that NONE of that is true. The Savior is waiting for you to call out his name so he can save you and draw you near to him. He loves you so much, and knows everything that you are experiencing. He knows your sins, heartache, sickness, and disappointments. He atoned for all of them and because of that THERE IS HOPE. 

The Prophet Joseph Smith said:

"All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it."