Friday, September 25, 2015

Of Raging Tempests

Jesus wearing white and red robes, with arms outstretched, standing near His Apostles on a ship that is being tossed on large waves.
Awakening the Savior, one of His trusted Apostles cried out, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" Taking in the scene of chaos around Him--the driving winds, the near-flooded ship, and the frantic Apostles--Christ stands up, rebukes the storm, and then rebukes the Apostles for their lack of faith.

As I have read this story over the years, question has repeatedly come to mind: on what grounds did the Savior call into question their lack of faith?

In the Bible Dictionary we read that "Faith is to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true, and must be centered in Jesus Christ in order to produce salvation." Doesn't that describe what occurred in this scene on the ship? The Apostles found themselves in the middle of an awful and dangerous storm so they turned to the Savior with hope that He could save them from their dangers. How can He then turn around and question their lack of faith?

As I have personally studied this principle of faith and worked to apply it in my life, I have learned a number of things that go beyond the simple definition stated above. It is certainly true that faith is a "hope for a better world" as based upon and founded in Jesus Christ. But this is not an exhaustive definition, this is only one aspect of faith.

In order to have real, substantial faith, our turning to Christ must be a reactive and instinctive choice rather than a safety net in case our own efforts fail to save us. Christ is not, indeed cannot be our backup, our plan B. As taught by multiple Book of Mormon prophets, "there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Lost Art Of The Plugger

This past week has seen me spending a lot of time in prayer and contemplation about life. A number of things have been combining to cause me to pause and look at where my life is, where I would like it to go, and what I need to do to make that a reality. As I have been pondering these things, studying different aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and consulting with God in prayer two powerful things have happened. First, I gained a new perspective on what it means to have patience. Secondly, the Lord showed me that patience is one of the gifts that I have been blessed with in my life.

I have always been good at school and academics in general. I have never struggled with grasping concepts or with taking tests or completing assignments or even falling behind in any class. I hadn't realized how rare this was until I came to college. Here I met and interacted with many people from vastly different backgrounds who had varying approaches to school work and I have been able to see how much some of them struggle.

One of the biggest clues I had that something was different between me and many of my peers was when midterms or finals came around. To me these tests felt like any other test. I had taken dozens if not hundreds of tests; what made these any different?

And yet here my friends were staying up late and getting up early to study, going to special three-hour-long review sessions and frantically trying to shove an entire semester into one week. I finally understood the phrase "burning the candle from both ends" as I watched my friends prepare for exams.

For me, finals week just marked the end of the semester. For most of them it marked the busiest, most stressful part of the semester. I always felt like I must be doing something wrong, as if I were missing out on part of the experience of college and that it was just too easy. I knew that my classes weren't easier than those of my peers, so I figured maybe I was just incredibly lazy and care-free while at the same time being very blessed to be intelligent.

It wasn't until yesterday that I realized that there isn't something wrong with me in this regards. The key came down to the difference in our approaches to the rest of the semester. My approach is not revolutionary, it's not even that surprising. But what is surprising is how uncommon it is to find.