Friday, November 22, 2013

Lean on Me

There's a common expression for those of us with little faith that goes, "With God, all things are possible." This statement usually follows an expression of self doubt in terms of overcoming a personal obstacle. Like gravity for instance. We tell our beleaguered friend to press onward and have faith. He thanks you for the comfort, then proceeds to brush it off later on. 

I feel that the general attitude towards most things in life is to square your shoulders and go forth the best you can relying on your own strength to carry you through. As though it's a display of manliness that we take on life's obstacles by ourselves rather than reaching out for help. Action movies draw on this and love to show burly heroes who take on entire zombie hordes by themselves wielding nothing but a garden weasel and their teeth. While I can understand that we don't want people to see us in our moments of weakness, I fear that this leads us to include God right next to the government and mother-in-laws on the list of people who cannot help us in life. Unfortunately for your pride, life doesn't work that way. 
Unless you're Chuck Norris, Then life works for you.
It's true that God expects us to do things on our own. The whole purpose of this mortal life is for us to learn the difference between good and evil so that we can make good decisions and act for ourselves. Like learning to ride a bike, God doesn't expect us to use training wheels all of our lives. Even if it takes falling down a couple times to find our balance. He wants us to become agents for ourselves. However, there's another lesson that he expects us to learn during our brief sojourn through mortality; that there will come a time where we cannot do things by ourselves and must rely on Him to carry us through. 

It's a lesson that the Mission has taught me thoroughly. I've been reminded just how dependant I am on God when certain challenges come. Taking over an area is still one of the most stressful experiences I have had in the field because I'm suddenly personally responsible for the salvation of everyone in the entire city because my new companion doesn't know jack about the area. In short I stress myself out as I try to comprehend all that I must do in order to make sure that the area runs smoothly. 

I took over the Monroe area on the 12th of November and about a day later, I woke up sometime around three in the morning and couldn't fall back asleep because of all the things that came into my mind that I was stressing out about. Are the people we're teaching still going to progress? Are we doing everything we can to help the members out? How's my new companion doing? Do I know the area well enough? The questions kept coming with no sure resolution. I was sinking into despair when I realized that this is the Lord's work, therefore, I should let Him take care of things and that's what I did. I prayed to God for quite some time. Telling Him how I felt about the area, the fears I had, and what I wanted to do. I asked for help in the guidance in the things I was expected to do as a missionary and left the rest up to him. As soon as I finished, the despair dissipated and I was able to go back to sleep. Since that first night, I haven't been worried with the schedule of the upcoming days. I haven't been stressing over the people we're teaching and how they're doing because now I understand that we're expected to simply take things day by day and not concern to much about what's to come. This is the Lord's work and He'll do it His way. 

I was able to feel a weight lifted off my shoulders as I asked for God to throw me a bone and help a brother out. Even though it wasn't as dramatic as fighting off a rabid kodiak grizzly using nothing but a tin of Altoids, God was able to pull me up and help me out when I felt like I couldn't do things on my own. I know that god answers prayers and is willing to help us in the situations that we face where we feel like there's no hope to be had. Because there is always hope, and when we have hope, we have faith, and when we have faith, we can do anything. 

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