Monday, August 18, 2008

The Luckiest Failure

I don't get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here.

These words accompany the opening strains of Ben Folds's "The Luckiest," one of my favorite love songs (mostly because I think it's so sincere). I've been thinking about them lately as I've realized how far I've come these past few years, and how far I still have to go. I don't get many things right the first time--and some things I get spectacularly wrong. But somehow the wrong turns and colossal failures have taught me important and beautiful lessons, and have prepared me to get a few things right, for a change. Which I fully intend to do. And if I hadn't failed, I wouldn't know how wonderful it feels to succeed.

That's right, you guessed it, I plan to be perfect from now on!
And, as the Yiddish proverb says, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What Manner of Man is This?

When Christ, with His disciples, took a boat across the sea of Galilee to escape the multitude, the weather quickly turned foul. His disciples, frightened by the great tempest that threatened to capsize their little vessel, woke the Master, who had fallen asleep on a pillow. Likely yelling to make themselves heard above the storm, they berated Christ for His thoughtlessness, saying, in effect, "Don't you care that we're all going to die?" During a storm, all hands were needed, and so the disciples woke Christ and demanded that he help them steer the ship to safety. Instead, with a rebuke of His own for their lack of faith, Christ, "arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm" (Matt. 8:26).

The disciples were shocked. Some of them had made their living in the sea, and they understood well the perils that had been so miraculously and suddenly removed. Then "the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" (Matt. 8:27). What manner of man, indeed!

What manner of man is Christ? Put simply, He is a perfect man. He created this earth, redeemed its inhabitants, and continues to govern it. He who rebuked the winds and calmed the storm on a small vessel in an ancient Palestinian sea has the power to “rebuke the devourer for [our] sakes” (Malachi 3:11). He still has the power to command any storm afflicting any ship or any heart, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39). When we come to Him in faith in the midst of our storm, He can offer far more than another helping hand to steady the mainsail through the next gust of wind. His hands, upon which He has engraven us (Isaiah 49:16) will heal us completely, lift us up tenderly, and guide us gently. They will hold storms at abeyance and mold us like clay. They bring us into fellowship, remind us of our debt of gratitude, and enfold us in their welcoming protection. How grateful I am for the majestic power of those humble hands, which I have seen working in my life in ways I cannot deny. I testify of the Lord’s power, which transcends all powers of earth and hell, and of its efficacy in our lives even when we, like the disciples of old, are among those called “ye of little faith.”

“Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (Doctrine & Covenants 6:36).

Photo from Reuters