Believe it or not, this fearsome pirate ship on the side is something which I actually colored myself! I actually started coloring it first . . . and then had the idea for this blog post. I have learned being here as a missionary there needs to be balance in everything we do. As we work, we need time with healthy recreation and sleep to revitalize ourselves, so we can again work with a renewed focus and determination. So, to help balance the work we do, I have followed Elder Moxley’s example and I have done a little coloring. The pirate ship in its own right represents a juxtaposition of ideals. There is the idea of pirates, representing fear and terror juxtaposed with the Christmas spirit of hope and faith shown in the sails. Faith and fear create a balance of opposition as two forces which work against each other. It is on the roles of fear and faith in our lives which I wish to address my remarks today.
Fear is a tool used by the adversary to drive away the faith we have in our lives. Fear comes in response to our faith from the adversary to try and drive away the faith we have. As we seek to come closer to God he twists and disguises the truth with a little lie to drive us away from God. In the Bible we read the example of Peter, someone of great faith who had a time when fear was able to affect the faith he had and take Him away from Jesus Christ.
At the time of the final Passover Christ had made a prophesy that all would abandon Him. In response Peter replied “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” Christ again said, “That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Peter was certainly resolute in his determination as he replied “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” And, as we know, Peter did later do just as Christ had predicted, and Christ was left alone with no one as He suffered for us (Matthew 26).
As we can see from Peter, fear can be a very powerful tool used by the adversary to take us away from Jesus Christ. I know in my own life, just as Peter went out and “wept bitterly,” I feel I can understand in my own small way the disappointment we feel when we let the fear in our life motivate us more than what we know is right. Peter was able to overcome his fear such as we read in Acts 5. When asked to deny Christ, he refused and was beaten for it. So great was the faith that Peter had, that he left his beating rejoicing he was counted worthy to suffer for Jesus Christ.
Finding this faith is something which is there for all of us as we seek it. Faith is a gift from God. Faith comes in response to our following the commandments; it comes from taking our own time to do the things God has asked us. We do basic things like praying, reading the scriptures, and going to church. Prayer is more than us just talking to the wall. I understand it needs to be an earnest plea and seeking for help. I love the descriptions used in the scriptures—how we cry, plead, hunger, and earnestly seek. I feel I have been able to find power in my prayers as I have been able to take time and earnestly seek for the confirmation from God’s spirit with all of the questions and concerns I have. I think of the best plans I have, and as I seek for God’s help, through His spirit I can find the things which I need to do come to my mind and my heart. I have found a great difference between just reading words, and like we read in Enos, letting the words sink “deep into [our] hearts.” It is taking time to ponder the words we read, and apply them into our lives. I don’t see anything reluctant about what makes faith. I understand it is a determination, a resolution, a positive attitude to bring us through all the trials we have. I know Jesus Christ is there for all of us in our lives. I know He loves us, and I know as we endure with patience through any question or trial we have He will be there to help us through it.