Wednesday, 5 December 2007
If God Loves Me, Why This?
I just finished reading 'If God Loves Me, Why This? Finding Peace in God's Plan for Us'. It's a short book and an easy read - and has a great message. I bought it for someone else and wanted to scan through a bit of it first - but I found myself compelled to read the whole thing. I loved the analogies the author uses. One example can be found on the Time Out For Women website. It's a great book. I totally recommend it!
I also loved his analogy about why the "Sunday School" answers are so important (you know...the easy answer to almost every Sunday School question: pray, read your scriptures and go to church....only he calls them seminary answers). He compares it to a couple of sports analogies. When I read that it made me think of the experience we've had losing our baby, Destiny. In the midst of it I knew I was just walking robotically...and I didn't feel hugely bouyed up or comforted by any of the pat phrases people would say, even though I did agree with them (thank goodness for the gospel, aren't you glad you know that you will raise her after the resurrection and that she'll always be yours, etc.) In those moments though if I didn't have those things deep in my heart it would have been impossible to find any comfort because there was just too much hurt. In the middle of the crisis is no time to be finding the answers to those hard questions. Those things need to be deeply embedded prior to the critical moments...which is why the daily scripture study, prayer and attending meetings/involvement in church is so key....it is what prepares you to handle things when life throws you a real curve ball.
Kim Nelson (the author) says:
A couple of sports analogies help explain why it is so important for us to study the scriptures, say our prayers and attend our church meetings. In bot the football huddle and the basketball time-out, we discover the importance of preparing in advance. Let's look at each.
First, the football huddle. Long before the season begins, football teams practice. They get in shape, learn their playbook, and memorize their assignments from the playbook. They see that everybody has an orchestrated opportunity to contribute in some way to make each play work. The book teaches them specific principles for specific situations.
In a game, there isn't time to sit down with each individual person and tell him what he is going to do on the next play. But if a player has prepared, he can step into the huddle between plays and, in less than twenty seconds, get an assignment and know what he is supposed to do.
A similar kind of preparation is available to us spiritually. For example, our spiritual playbook says, "As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). So, in the heat of the game of life, if I find myself thinking something I don't want to think, I can that thought because I understand the principle. The time to prepare is long before I find myself out on the field in a difficult situation.
Constant prayer is the moment-to-moment huddle with the Spirit to check the play and our assignment. He reminds us of the basic game plan of our lives - the big celestial kingdom. I will keep my temple covenants. I will go; I will do. All those principles are part of our playbook, and the more familiar we become with that book, the easier it is for us to remember what our assignments are in different situations when the game is on the line.
Now let's discuss the example of a basketball time-out. Those who have played know how common it is, especially towards the end of a hotly contested game, to hear the coach say something like this, "All right, we're going to run play number 1." Or he may motion from the sidelines, holding up a certain number of fingers to designate a specific play. Because of the team practices, all the players know what they're going to do. They don't have to draw it up or ask who stands where; they've practiced it a hundred times. Preparation is what gives us the confidence to win.
At the end of a rugged day, I always run my old standby reliable play: prayer. I've done it a thousand times and more. I know it works. I have that dependable play to fall back on at any given time. I practice and practice and practice, and it prepares me. It gives me confidence. With that confidence comes peace in the pressure of the game, peace that I'll know exactly what to do. I'll know who's standing where, I'll know who I can count on, and I'll know to whom I can look for advice and counsel.
Saying our prayers, reading our scriptures, and participating in all our meetings and callings - all those activities prepare us to respond in those times of great stress and pressure in our lives. When seconds count, or when we are tired or drifting and life call on us to come up with an answer, I would suggest the seminary answer: say your prayers, read your scriptures, and participate in all your meetings. Chances are, those are the things that will work.