In all sporting events, there are situations when a last-second decision has to be made. Opponents may change their originally-planned tactics or strategy because in the moment, that line of attack isn’t really going to work out.
This occurs frequently in football, like when a quarterback sees the defensive approach is unlike what was anticipated. He then makes a last minute change right there in the offensive line and decides against running the designed play. This is perhaps referred to as “calling an audible.”
When the team prepares, makes a plan, and then steps up to the line only to find something completely different than they were expecting, the quarterback can change the stratagem by calling an audible. This happens in life as well. Sometimes when our plan or strategy doesn’t go the way we expected or intended, we may need to occasionally call an audible in our daily activities.
There are many examples of this in history:
- When Moses was leading the Israelites to the Promised Land, the Egyptian soldiers pinned them with their backs to the Red Sea. They had nowhere else to turn. So Moses called an audible in a manner of speaking and sought divine help. That was the moment when the waters of the Red Sea were divided, and the children of Israel crossed to their safety on dry ground.
- Joseph Smith had to call an audible when those persecuting the Church attempted to steal the plates. He hid them in a barrel of dry beans until the threat was gone.
- A planned date falls through, a student is not selected for his or her anticipated major, an appointment wasn’t kept, or perhaps family or wedding plans have to be altered at a moment’s notice because the weather suddenly changes.
- Fill in the blank — throughout history and in our own lives, we have all had to adjust when life turns out differently than we planned. Because of this, we still make these last minute corrections all the time.
Yet as we recognize that hardship and challenges are part of our existence, we need not be depressed. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald was an American writer probably best known for his novel The Great Gatsby. While he achieved limited success in his lifetime, he is now widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald once observed, “Trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement.”
To me, that means that even if our original plan doesn’t work out like we had hoped, the results may be better than we ever dreamed. Does that sound preposterous? It’s not. When I anticipated having children, it was one of the great joys of my life, but it turned out much different than I had anticipated. Others are facing that part of their lives right now. I know they too have expectations for how their families will come together. The Lord’s plan is even better for us than we can imagine.
My whole life is evidence of that, and I venture to guess that so is yours.
My own family called an audible a few years ago. We were in Hawaii enjoying the sights and sounds of paradise, when back home the company I was working for at the time was in an uproar. Unbeknownst to us while on this vacation, everyone in the organization was laid off. Once we returned and were told the news, I began interviewing at many different businesses out west: Microsoft, LANdesk, Micro Focus, and others.
I flew out to Los Angeles, Seattle, and Oregon and was wined-and-dined (figuratively “wined,” of course!) by numerous potential employers, but did not receive a job offer. Then we had an opportunity to go to an interview for a burgeoning company in Anacortes, Washington. I had never even heard of this island-city surrounded by fresh-water lakes. My wife came with me on this interview. She picked out a house while I accepted the job on the very same day.
Though we only stayed in that area for 3 years, it was one of our family’s really choice memories, and the experience changed our lives. Lifelong friends, professional growth, and the wonderful opportunity to live in the beautiful Northwest were only the beginning.
So to continue this thought, let’s focus on what calling an audible doesn’t mean:
- It doesn’t mean joining the opponent’s team and fighting against your own players.
- It doesn’t mean turning around and running the wrong direction to a completely different goal.
- It doesn’t mean changing your objectives and outlook entirely.
You see, winning the contest of life and beating our opponent has nothing to do with how many points we score, the great plays we make, or whether or not we are the star player on the team. Being victorious depends only on one thing: whose side we are on.
Jesus Christ is already victorious, and so are we if we align ourselves with him. And that goes for you and your profession, your education, your home, and your family and mine. We can’t lose if we are on the Lord’s team. And my experience in life has taught me that everything is better when we are on His side.
“Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” These are Joshua’s words, but they are my sentiments as well. Joshua also said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” If we too make that decision, we are part of his team and like Him, we are already victorious.
Let me say that again: when we walk with Christ, we have already won.
Some people have been known to ask me why I make everything in life religious. My answer: because I am not strong enough to navigate life’s perils on my own.
Then in a majestic rendition, Jeffrey R Holland, at the time president of Brigham Young University, articulated my reasoning in the words of an address like a beautiful song that I cannot sing.
And gratefully, on my own, I don’t have to.
In a First Presidency message from 2016, President Henry B. Eyring shared a message that I love. His experience is as follows:
As we endure in faithfulness, the Holy Ghost will confirm our hope and confidence that we are on the path to eternal life, to live in families forever in the celestial kingdom.
For some, that eternal joy may seem a faint or even a fading hope. Parents, children, brothers, and sisters may have made choices that seem to disqualify them from eternal life. You may even wonder whether you have yet been qualified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
A prophet of God once offered me counsel that gives me peace. I was worried that the choices of others might make it impossible for our family to be together forever. He said, “You are worrying about the wrong problem. You just live worthy of the celestial kingdom, and the family arrangements will be more wonderful than you can imagine.”
To all of those whose personal experience or whose marriage and children—or absence thereof—cast a shadow over their hopes, I offer my witness: Heavenly Father knows and loves you as His spirit child.
Like the 2018 mutual theme, we are taught that despite hardship, we can have peace in Christ. As we walk with Him by keeping His commandments and live as He lived, we are filled with hope.
He gives us hope, when hope is gone.
He gives us strength when we can’t go on.
He gives us shelter in the storms of life.
When there is no peace on earth, there is peace in Christ.
I read a letter from a full-time missionary this week. She said in the mission, just like in life, we are not promised that everything will be easy, but with Christ, all things are possible. We will all have to face the storms of life, but we face them with peace and strength when we face them with hearts turned to God.
My experience in life has shown that His words are true even when things don’t go the way we had hoped. When we learn of Him, we have hope especially in the midst of discouragement and hardship.
“Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.”
Yes. There is peace in Christ.
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.