We took a quick trip up to Zion Canyon with Terri’s family and loved it. The best part for me was the opportunity to talk of Gospel topics with people of faith. One of the challenges we Latter-day Saints seem to face is the fact that we work so hard to serve our families and our faith, that we don’t succeed financially and in our careers like we might have if we had been driven and single-minded about pursuing Babylon. This leaves a “I could have been rich” feeling in the pit of one’s stomach.
After a conversation about how several of us “almost made it,” I had this thought occur to me.
Life is like a 4 wheel drive vehicle in the sense that sometimes some of the wheels spin in the mud because circumstances of life deny them true traction. We look at the flying mud and think ourselves to be failures in that area. For some the failure seems to be financial, for some it is health, or career, or fame or popularity, or opportunities we chose not to exercise in favor of something more eternally weighty.
In a Christ-directed life, at the same time those wheels are spinning in the mud, there is always one wheel that is on solid ground moving us forward. That wheel has traction because we have earnestly prayed and found guidance and inspiration on that subject, and it is the only thing that is moving us forward. This could be our family, our service to God, or our faith, or any other aspect of life where the voice and will of God is known.
The point is, that one wheel is propelling our whole life, all the wheels, in the right direction. It isn’t possible for one part of our life to be inspired, and other aspect of our lives to be out of the Lord’s care – even when they feel out of control. They are moving forward in an inspired direction because we are moving forward under the Lord’s direction. He sees the whole picture, and directs our lives by giving us direction sufficient to move onward in the only direction that will exalt us.
When we don’t feel inspired on every part of our lives that feel out of control, we can be comforted that when any part of our lives is inspired and blessed, all of the other parts are as well. The Lord doesn’t guide disobedient people, nor does he dwell in unclean vessels. So, guidance in some aspect of our lives is guidance in all parts of our lives. Does that make sense to you?
The most difficult part is to accept that we are where we should be even when only one part of our lives is inspired, and all others are in flames. We want it all to work like magic, for every element of mortality to be illuminated by revelation and charmed by success. It doesn’t seem to work that way.
One of Terri’s relatives is serving as a Bishop. He is a fine, kind and inspired man. Yet, discouragement in his words prompted me to suggest this vision: You are what you are, and where you are because of an inspired course in your life which prepared and empowered you to serve the Lord in this way. Any other course, any other combination of successes and struggles would have taken you somewhere else. The one wheel which found traction and propelled you into this day, into this world, was the inspired one. It did not bring you here as a partial failure. All of your wheels arrived here together, even the ones that are spinning in the mud. This is where you must be in order for you to serve in this way. You ARE the greatest man, and the greatest success you could possibly be, because the course that brought you here was inspired of God.
We may look at the apparent partial success of such things and agree, even while quietly still wishing that our ship had actually arrived at port with our wealth aboard. This is kind of like arriving at judgment day, hearing Jesus Christ pronounce us pure, and then in the back of our mind wishing we had sinned a little more, enjoyed a little more Babylon, and indulged just a little more, because we probably would still have been pronounced clean in the end.
The point is that we should embrace the conquest of mortality as the fullest and most glorious success mortality can deliver. We arrived here BECAUSE of the process of our lives, with its many losses and disappointments, struggles and failures. To change any part of that would deliver us to a different destination – which would be a tragedy of eternal duration.