My Dad loved rubber bands, and he used them for everything. He was the most eccentric person I’ve ever known, and I used to love observing his habits. He was a very organized person. Today we would call him OCD, but I’m pretty sure Dad wouldn’t have ever heard that term. Rubber bands were essential in Dad’s organizational process, so he saved every rubber band he came in contact with. There was a stash of rubber bands everywhere.
Dad was a salesman, so his car was like a second office for him. The rearview mirror was his rubber band holder. Since the hot sun rots rubber bands, one of his weekly chores was to reach up with his finger and stretch each rubber band on the mirror. Those that were rotten would break, and he would toss them in the litter bag. That way he always knew he had an appropriate number of fresh rubber bands ready for the next organizational task.
I thought about those rotting rubber bands the other day when I read President Nelson’s talk from April 2017 General Conference.
Do you remember the biblical story of the woman who suffered for 12 years with a debilitating problem? (Luke 8:43–44) She exercised great faith in the Savior, exclaiming, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.” (Mark 5:28)
This faithful, focused woman needed to stretch as far as she could to access His power. Her physical stretching was symbolic of her spiritual stretching.
Many of us have cried out from the depths of our hearts a variation of this woman’s words: “If I could spiritually stretch enough to draw the Savior’s power into my life, I would know how to handle my heart-wrenching situation. I would know what to do. And I would have the power to do it.”
When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.
When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then His power will flow into you (President Russell M. Nelson, “Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” Apr. 2017 General Conference).
Unlike the rotting rubber bands, we have the power to stop the disintegration. We have the power to stop Satan in his tracks. All it requires is the faith to reach up to our Heavenly Father. We have to stretch beyond what we think is our capacity. We have to have faith and trust in the Lord that He will send His power to stretch even more.
Satan wants us to rot like those silly rubber bands, but we have access to power to stop him. We have the Holy Ghost to tell us what to do. We have priesthood power to thwart Satan’s efforts. We have the power to be the rubber band that never rots. We have priesthood power that stretches forever.
Where do we get the faith to do all this stretching? Our leaders have been telling us lately to get back to basics. Keep the Sabbath day holy, read the scriptures, teach our families, attend the temple when possible, and be a covenant-keeping people. There is a reason our leaders are stressing these things. They want to build our faith so we can do all that stretching.
I think most of us have the desire to do all that stretching in order to reach our goal of eternal life. Like all good things, stretching takes work. Desire and work ethic are two different things.
Thinking of my own personal stretching, I’ve been comparing my desire to stretch for the Savior’s power with my desire to lose weight. I’ve needed to lose weight for years. I have the desire to lose the weight, and I have the knowledge of how to do it. I know the health benefits of losing weight. What I’m lacking is the work ethic to get it done. Losing weight takes work, and frankly, I’m too lazy to get it done. That’s interesting to me because my work ethic has always been impeccable when it comes to other things.
My weakness in work ethic for losing weight makes me question my work ethic in stretching for the Savior’s power. I know I have room for improvement. I know I am not stretching enough. Knowing our weaknesses is a good thing, so we can set goals to improve. I’m going to be working on improving my ability to stretch.
I could use more of the Savior’s power in my life—who couldn’t? I can also get better about taking advantage of the priesthood power within my grasp. I don’t even remember the last time I asked for a priesthood blessing. All that power available to me, and I’m not even stretching as far as the priesthood power available in my own home.
I’m making it a priority to stretch. I think I’ll write the word stretch on some sticky notes and place them in key places around my home.
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.