Do you ever feel like the world is falling apart?
If you do, you’re not alone. Scripture references about our day seem to indicate that very thing. Prophecies warn about signs and wonders that shall deceive the very elect. Without saying exactly what those signs and wonders are, we are warned multiple times to be cautious.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)
What is interesting to me is that we are not left to speculate about those great signs and wonders. Our living apostles and prophets have cautioned us to avoid the evils that today are changing our societies and ruining, if it were possible, our professions, institutions, and family organizations. Plagues, falsehoods, and deceptions mislead the world and its unsuspecting inhabitants. I needn’t repeat the tragic exposure of recently publicized improprieties of those in the news. No, I am not accusing them; the reality is that I don’t need to. It has already been done, whether or not they are guilty. A plague afflicts everyone – that’s what plagues do. As no respecter of persons, they do not distinguish between the guilty and the innocent. All are injured as we have seen in the current events of our day.
30 And again, because iniquity shall abound, the love of men shall wax cold; but he that shall not be overcome, the same shall be saved. (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1)
Both living and past prophets have warned and forewarned us. The scriptures are filled with appeals cautioning us to avoid evil. I can’t help but think, “What do we expect?” when our television programs, commercials, movies, comic strips, books, and lifestyles are filled with filth and indiscretions. Now we must pay the price of our poor decisions.
The Time is Now
But gratefully it is not too late.
Elder Holland buoyantly reminds us, “I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”
Elder Bruce R. McConkie described the conflict that occurred in heaven:
What kind of war? The same kind that prevails on earth; the only kind Satan and spirit beings can wage—a war of words, a tumult of opinions, a conflict of ideologies; a war between truth and error, between light and darkness. … And the battle lines are still drawn. It is now on earth as it was then in heaven; every man must choose which general he will follow.
President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles elaborated on how we can find protection during this spiritual war:
“[Satan] is determined to disrupt our Heavenly Father’s plan and seeks to control the minds and actions of all. This influence is spiritual, and he ‘is abroad in the land’.
“But despite the opposition, trials, and temptations, you need not fail or fear.
“Youth today are being raised in enemy territory with a declining standard of morality. But as a servant of the Lord, I promise that you will be protected and shielded from the attacks of the adversary if you will heed the promptings that come from the Holy Spirit.”
Patience is enduring well
As Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:
“Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well”
It takes courage and bravery to follow the commandments of God. We, like children, are sometimes tempted to take shortcuts to our desires. Even when it does not make sense, the hope we have in the Savior will pull us through. His gospel is the way to happiness. We delay immediate gratification now for future blessings.
The gospel of Jesus Christ can heal souls and transform ordinary men and women into people who face their challenges with courage, grace, and faith. It can teach us to be brave.
The Butterfly Effect
Of course you have good intentions, but perhaps you feel that contribution you can make seems rather small and insignificant when compared with the needs of others. And somebody else is going to take care of it anyway, right? Well there is a different philosophy that some call the butterfly effect. It goes something like this.
In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is defined as the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.
This effect grants the power to cause a hurricane in China to a butterfly flapping its wings in New Mexico. It may take a very long time, but the connection is real. If the butterfly had not flapped its wings at just the right point in space and time, the hurricane would not have happened.
The effect is a theory, but the lesson has been proven time and again. Setting a good example, offering kindness to others, inviting people to church activities, or reading the Book of Mormon can have significant impacts in our lives and for future generations untold.
It takes courage and at times significant sacrifice, but the rewards are substantial. Missionaries serving in Switzerland a mere 150-years-ago baptized a family and opened to them the blessings of the gospel, literally changing the lives of thousands today of which I am a part. It takes courage and sometimes sacrifice, but we can be the catalyst when we speak up, and that matters.
Jesus Christ is symbolized in the scriptures as the Bridegroom. The Church is His symbolic bride. Ten virgins went forth to meet the Bridegroom. Five were ready with oil in their lamps (wise), and five were unprepared (foolish).
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. (Matthew 25:1-13)
Daily scripture study, personal prayer, and living the commandments all put oil in our lamps so that we are prepared when the Bridegroom comes.
It takes dedication and courage, but we can do it.
So go ahead, show how big your brave is.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.