We must choose to heed prophetic counsel, recognize and obey spiritual whispers, and be obedient to God’s commandments and seek personal revelation.
Not long ago, my wife and I decided that we should experience more fully the beauty of a region near our home in northwest Montana. We decided to take our bikes to the Hiawatha Trail, a remodeled railroad line that traverses the beautiful Rocky Mountains between Montana and Idaho. We planned a fun day with good friends, enjoying the natural beauty of the region.
We knew that our journey along the splendid 24-km trail would include trestle bridges over deep canyons and long tunnels that penetrated the steep mountains; So we get ready with lights on the helmets and on the bikes.
Those who had gone before warned us that the tunnels were obscure and that we needed powerful lights. As we gathered in front of the huge stone entrance of the Taft Tunnel, a caretaker explained some of the dangers of the trail, such as deep ditches along the edges, rough walls and total darkness. Eagerly, we advanced through the tunnel. After only a few minutes, the predicted obscurity enveloped us; The lanterns I took were inadequate, and soon the darkness annihilated them. Suddenly, I began to feel anxious, confused and disoriented.
I was ashamed to admit my concerns to my friends and family.Although I am an experienced cyclist, I now felt I had never ridden a bicycle; I struggled to stay upright as my confusion increased. Finally, after expressing my discomfort to those around me, I was able to get closer to the powerful flashlight of a friend. In fact, everyone in the group began to form a tight circle around him. By staying with him and trusting for a moment in his light and the collective light of the group, we advance more in the darkness of the tunnel. Here at itypemba you can get more different lightings.
After what seemed hours, I saw a speck of light and almost immediately I began to reassure myself that everything would turn out well. I kept moving forward, trusting as much in the light of my friends as in the dot of light that was enlarging; Little by little my confidence returned as the light increased in size and intensity.Long before I reached the end of the tunnel, I no longer needed the help of my friends, all the anxiety disappeared as I pedaled quickly into the light. I felt calm and I calmed down even before leaving in the morning full of warmth and splendor.
We live in a world where we will experience challenges in faith. We will feel confident that we are ready to face these challenges until we discover that our preparations have not been enough, and as my friend had warned me about the darkness, so we are warned today. The voices of the apostles urge us to prepare ourselves with powerful lights of spiritual strength.
In the same way, we may feel embarrassed, uncomfortable or spiritually confused when we encounter a challenge in our faith.However, with few exceptions, the intensity and duration of those feelings will depend on our reaction to them. If we do nothing, it is possible that doubt, pride and finally apostasy will keep us from the light.
I learned some important lessons from my experience in the tunnel and will share only a few of them.
First, no matter how intense the darkness of doubt, we choose how long and how much we allow it to influence us .We need to remember how much our Heavenly Father and His Son love us. None of them will ever abandon us, nor will they allow us to feel overwhelmed if we seek His help. Remember the experience of Peter in the hostile waves of the Sea of Galilee. As Pedro felt himself enfolded in the cold darkness he recognized his dilemma immediately and chose to ask for help at that moment. He did not question the Savior’s power to save him; simply he cried, saying, “Lord, save me!”1.
In our life, it is possible that the outstretched hand of the Savior takes the form of the help of a trusted friend, a leader, or a loving father. Even though we are struggling in the dark, there is nothing wrong with temporarily relying on the light of those who love us and have our interests in mind.
If we consider it carefully, why would we listen to the cynical and faceless voices of those in the large, spacious buildings of our time and ignore the pleas of those who really love us? These ever-present pessimists prefer to overthrow rather than elevate, and ridicule rather than edify. His mocking words can rummage through our lives, often through bursts of instantaneous electronic distortions purposely created to destroy faith. Is it wise to put our eternal welfare in the hands of strangers? Is it prudent to claim to have received understanding from those who have no light to give or whose private intentions are hidden from us? To those anonymous people, if they presented themselves honestly, we would never give them a minute of our time, but because they exploit social networks and hide from scrutiny, they receive undeserved credibility.
Our decision to pay attention to those who mock sacred things will distract us from the saving light that gives life to the Savior. John recorded: “And Jesus spake unto them again, saying, I am the light of the world; Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” 2. Remember, those who truly love us can help us build our faith.
Just as I felt embarrassed in the tunnel, we might as well be embarrassed to ask for help as to our doubts. Maybe we are someone other people have sought to receive strength but now we need help. When we realize that the light and comfort that the Savior can offer us are far more valuable than losing pride, then inspired Church leaders, parents, and friends can help. They are waiting and ready to help us gain spiritual convictions that will strengthen us against the challenges of faith.
Second, we must trust the Lord to strengthen our own spiritual power. We can not rely on the light of other people forever. I knew that the darkness in the tunnel would not last if I kept pedaling next to my friend and among the safety of the group, but my expectation was to be able to advance by myself once I could see the light. The Lord teaches us: “Draw near to me, and I will draw near to you; Seek me diligently, and you will find me; Ask, and you will receive; knock, and it shall be opened ” 3. We must act, hoping that the Lord will fulfill His promise to rise from the darkness if we come to Him. However, the adversary will try to convince us that we have never felt the influence of the Spirit and that it will be easier just to stop trying.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf advised us to “doubt your doubts before doubting your faith” 4. Recently, in my neighborhood, a young man said: “There are things that I have felt that can not be explained otherwise than they are of God”; That is spiritual integrity.
In dealing with doubts or concerns, we must remember the blessings and spiritual feelings that have penetrated our heart and life in the past and place our faith in the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I remember the advice given in a well-known hymn: “From God we do not hesitate in anything [because] we already prove his goodness” 5. Ignoring and discarding the spiritual experiences of the past will distance us from God.
The search for light will increase through the willingness to recognize when it shines in our life. Modern scriptures define the light and offer a promise to those who accept it. “What is of God is light; and receiving light , and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day ” 6. In the same way that as we continue to pedal towards the light, the more we persist, the greater His influence becomes in our life.Like the light at the end of the tunnel, His influence will give us confidence, resolution, comfort, and-most importantly-the power to know that He lives.
Third, there is no darkness so thick, so threatening, or so difficult that light can not conquer. Elder Neil L. Andersen recently taught, “As wickedness in the world increases, there is a spiritual power rewarding to the righteous. As the world ignores its spiritual foundation, the Lord prepares the way for those who seek Him, offering them greater conviction, greater confirmation, and greater confidence in the spiritual direction in which they are traveling. The gift of the Holy Spirit becomes a brighter light in the incipient twilight”7.
Brothers and sisters, we are not left alone to be influenced by every whim and change in the attitude of the world, but we have the power to choose to believe over the doubt. In order to gain access to this rewarding spiritual power, we must choose to heed prophetic counsel, recognize and obey spiritual whispers, be obedient to God’s commandments, and seek personal revelation.We must choose. May we choose the light of the Savior. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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