I don’t think many people get married while thinking, “If it doesn’t work out, I can get a divorce,” but divorce does happen for many reasons. Similarly, not many people are baptized while thinking, “If it doesn’t work out, I can always leave the Church.” Yet, most of us know people who have walked away from sacred covenants. Both marriage and discipleship require us to be “all in.” Being “all in” is the highest commitment possible.
In our premortal life we shouted for joy at the opportunity to experience mortality. We were “all in” as we excitedly made the decision to be valiant defenders of our Heavenly Father’s plan. It is time to stand up and defend His plan again! (Elder Gary B. Sabin, Of the Seventy, “Stand Up Inside and Be All In,” Apr. 2017 General Conference).
Heavenly Father’s plan was designed with eternal perspective, but we look at it with mortal eyes. It is no wonder that occasionally we are challenged to stay focused on the long-term goal. When we don’t understand something, it is too easy to be critical. We don’t follow blindly; we follow with faith. Those times when we are confused or have questions about some Church policy, we need to back up the train, pray, search our hearts, and try to look at it with eternal perspective. Sometimes that perspective doesn’t come quickly, and it is critical to have faith that eventually that perspective will come.
Being “all in” means totally giving your life to Christ. Those doubts and fears are left at the feet of the Savior. We must remember that life is a test. Any student at any grade level will tell us that tests are not designed to be easy. They are designed to test our knowledge. As we go through the tests of life, we are showing our Heavenly Father what we have learned about His eternal plan. That requires study, commitment, faith, courage, and valiance. It requires that we continually seek for that eternal perspective. It requires that we be “all in”; nothing wavering.
The opening paragraph of a recent General Conference talk got my attention for a couple of reasons. First, it bore testimony. Usually, General Authorities of the Church wait until the end of their talks to bear testimony. This particular talk opens with testimony. Second, it tells us to strengthen our faith so we won’t waiver.
Dear brothers and sisters, I want to begin my message today by testifying that I know that President Thomas S. Monson is the prophet of God in our day. His counselors in the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles are also, in fact, prophets, seers, and revelators. They represent the Lord Jesus Christ and have the right to declare His mind and will as it is revealed to them.
I testify that there is safety in following their counsel. The Lord is inspiring them to emphasize strengthening our faith in Heavenly Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in His Atonement so that we will not waver as we face the challenges of our day (Elder Ulisses Soares, Of the Presidency of the Seventy, “Confide in God Unwaveringly,” Apr. 2017 General Conference).
I find those words to be compelling argument that now is the time to look inward and upward and become true disciples of Christ. Elder Soares later says:
Mortal life is a period of testing where we will be proven to see if we will do all things that the Lord our God shall command us. This will require unwavering faith in Christ even in times of great difficulty. It will require that we press forward with steadfast faith in Christ, being led by the Spirit and trusting that God will provide for our needs (Ibid).
Prophets, apostles, and all the General Authorities are preparing us for what is to come. We have run out of time for wavering and dawdling. Elder M. Russell Ballard, in particular, has been warning us to stay in the boat and assuring us that God is at the helm.
It is time to listen and learn. It’s time to work on our discipleship. It is time to stop wavering and making excuses for our behavior. It is time to stand up for God’s eternal plan. It won’t be easy to stand up to the world, but it must be done. The test is almost over.
All that is left is the essay question at the end, which is worth 50 percent of the grade. It is imperative to stand tall and speak up. We can no longer be the quiet observer of evil. It is time to speak up and let out voices be heard above the fray. It is time to be “all in.”
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.