"Yea, come unto me, thy Savior."
From the story of Peter walking on, then sinking in the water, of course. How many times we are taught about this story, and told about Peter's lack of faith...but we miss the first reaction of Christ. Peter calls to the Lord to save him, and immediately Jesus reaches out and catches him. As soon as Peter asks--not after he flounders in the water and begs, not after Jesus lectures him about having faith, not after asking the notable "seventy times seven"--immediately.
I think about my life. There have been many times when I've felt that I was sinking. Christ has never solved my problems for me. He has not taken my trials from me. He has simply reached out to hold me up, to keep my head above water and allow me to breathe while I learned the lesson necessary to make me stronger, to help me progress, to temper my pride, to humble me and force me to rely on my faith. Every time I've asked. Immediately.
Sometimes I jump to and focus on the chastening. I hear him chiding me for not praying with enough fervor, or letting the words of my scriptures slide past my eyes without finding meaning, or not seeking him with fullness of heart. Or, as I seek to find answers and to live my life with all that burdens me, I hear those words, "Oh ye of little faith..." I want to have the faith necessary to find the miracle of healing to my soul...but it seems I must go through small steps to develop it. I need to learn to rely on the help of others, as I train myself to recognize and find help in the hand of the Lord--the one that reaches out all the day long--the one that stretches forth, and catches me--immediately--all I have to do is ask.
Lately I've felt more lonely than I have felt in a very long time. The feeling comes upon me suddenly, overwhelming me with horrifying insistence. I am alone. There is no place for me, no love for me, no hope for me. A few days ago, I found myself on my knees in a simple prayer, "Please...don't let me be alone today...I need you...please, I can't be alone anymore." To my surprise, the overwhelming loneliness was replaced with a sweet, loving sense of peace. I stayed on my knees, allowing it to wash over me, trusting that whatever was amiss in my life, no matter what my state of worthiness was, my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me. They won't leave me alone. They will reach out and lift me up...I just have to ask.
My problems are the same. They haven't changed. They weren't taken away. But I can keep trying because I'm not alone. No matter what is asked of me, I can endure it--not always well, but that comes with time and practice, and I've never been very graceful when it comes to having to face the bad stuff--and I whine--a lot. Still, I love this verse in 2 Corinthians, because it's how I feel as I continue to work through the things that have caused me pain, "[I am] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [I am] perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed..." Perhaps it's a bit melodramatic, but there are times, especially lately, when I've certainly felt these things, and I'm learning that feelings are valid and need to be expressed and addressed, even if that makes me feel vulnerable.
Elder Richard G. Scott once said the following, "If you feel there is only a thin thread of hope, believe me, it is not a thread. It can be the unbreakable connecting link to the Lord which puts a life preserver around you. He will heal you as you cease to fear and place your trust in him by striving to live his teachings." Someday, that is what I will do. I will no longer fear, and I will place my trust in the Lord. Right now I'm learning how that works as I strive to live his teachings, and as I look to God, and live.