Strength of an army
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” -2 Timothy 3:1
In my mind I always believed growing up that “perilous times” meant only that of physical wars and destruction. Although I still know that this is part of the meaning, I am beginning to understand a greater, more powerful meaning.
Due to the fact that I like to watch and listen, I have discovered much sorrow in the lives of people that I hold dear to my heart. The whirlwind blows and without discretion captures some here and some there, some at this time and some at another. It holds them and drops them at will, leaving some with small and others great messes around them. Other times we personally step into the whirlwind thinking we are either strong enough to withstand or out of curiosity. Those kicking against the pricks are always great candidates for the next whirlwind.
To me “perilous times” also includes all the spiritual and emotional wars happening within and around us. The whirlwinds are trials and tribulations, no matter the form in which they present themselves. I have seen innumerable forms in so many different lives and plenty in my own life. With so many storms blowing all around each of us, it amazes me that there is still such a calm and peaceful way to endure each of them.
I think first is in knowing that we are protected.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” - 1 Corinthians 10:13
Personally I believe that most of the time the way to escape and bear it is by and through those around us that care for us. There is always at least one person in our lives that we fully trust and know that no matter what our current state, they will unconditionally love us. Of course there is some responsibility that falls to us.
“But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.” - Alma 13: 28-29
Although it is not always my favorite to admit, the second part comes with a knowledge that it will be for our benefit. Throughout the scriptures there is great comfort in the countless mention of why we have trials and weaknesses.
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” - Hebrews 12: 11-13
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” - Ether 12:27
Finally and most important is the exciting news that even when we haven’t done things perfectly, we will be blessed for trying. That our Savior will make up the difference and that as we put forth effort in working toward the goals of living the gospel, blessings will pour from heaven. I think that on too many occasions we forget to look around and realize that we are literally drenched with blessings.
“Let not your hearts be troubled; for in my Father’s house are many mansions, and I have prepared a place for you; and where my Father and I am, there ye shall be also.” -Doctrine and Covenants 98:18
One of my favorite parables in the New Testament is that of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32. There are three different viewpoints from which one can read these verses: the older brother’s, the prodigal’s or the Father’s.
When we read the story from the older brother’s viewpoint there is frustration and a sense of unfairness that surrounds it. When we read it from the prodigal’s viewpoint there is a lack of understanding how such forgiveness can be offered. However, when we read it from the Father’s viewpoint all the questions simply go away. The older brother has the blessing of always being with the Father, from beginning to end. The prodigal realizes that there are not servants in the kingdom, only sons. The Father is able to have all His children which is the ultimate joy for Him and for which He is striving. I always choose to not only read that parable from the Father’s viewpoint, but I strive to look at each individual including myself as He does. There is always a place in the kingdom for each of us and everything is fair under the laws of God.
The whirlwinds exist and knowing that they exist is half the battle. We know that at different times in our lives we will face the forces of those winds and all that falls and hits us as they blow. The thing to which we all need to cling is the knowledge that we can face those storms. We will hurt. We will fail. We will lack understanding. We will go through hundreds of emotions. We will heal. We will stand up and try again. We will understand. We will go through hundreds of emotions. We will make it....together.