John Mateara: Being whole-hearted in our faith

Thursday July 02, 2020 Written by John Mateara, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Published in Church Talk

CHURCH TALK: We each have the ability to endure the storms and whirlwinds of life.

The story is told of a young man who was being chased by a tiger. He was running as hard as he could to escape. He reached the edge of a cliff with the tiger snarling and growling ready to eat his prey.

The young man looked down the cliff and had a choice to make either to fall to his death or to fight off the tiger. Just then he noticed a branch sticking out of the cliff just a few feet down … a lifeline, he thought.

He jumped off the cliff and grabbed the branch. Just then a mouse came out of a space nearby and began to chew on the branch.

The frightened young man looked up at the sky and cried out, “Dear God please help me, please save me, I will do anything you ask me to do.”

Suddenly a voice came booming from the sky and questioned: “Will you do anything I ask?”

The young man was shocked to hear a reply and answered back, “I will do anything, but please save me.”

The voice from the sky replied, “There is only one way to save you but it will take courage and faith. Will you do what I ask? Do you have faith?”

With the mouse chewing on the branch and the tiger still growling from the top of the cliff the young man had no other option and replied: “Please God tell me what I should do, I will do whatever you say, your will is my will.”

The voice from heaven replied, “All right then, let go of the branch.”

After a long silence, the young man replied …”Is there anyone else up there I can ask?

For me the lesson learned from this story is that sometimes when we are faced with significant challenges and trials in our lives that the difficulties we find ourselves in can be overwhelming and can cause us to be uncertain in our faith and trust in God.

It is at these times that we need the courage and strength to put our full trust in God even when we can’t see what is ahead for us. We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to receive what the future holds for us and sometimes accept a change of direction.

During these unprecedented times with the Covid-19 virus still very active in many parts of the world, there are individuals, families, organisations and communities starting to feel the effect not only of the disease itself but of the economic and financial effects, crippling some economies.

These challenging times can also affect our spiritual well-being.

How we respond to the current crises will depend upon our faith and our trust in the Lord. We read of how the Saviours disciples were uncertain about their faith when they encountered a great storm as they sailed the sea.  

“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him.” (Matthew 8:23-27)

We each have the ability to endure the storms and whirlwinds of life. With whole-hearted faith in God and trust in His word and with fervent prayer we can overcome the virus and all the troubles and hardships of our day. We can move the mountains that form as obstacles in our lives, the ocean tempests and mighty storms that try to sway us from our righteous endeavours.

Let us have the faith and trust that Noah had when he was commanded by the Lord to build the ark. It wasn’t raining when he started building the ark and although he was mocked by his peers he was obedient to the Lord and received the blessings because of his faith.

I pray that we might not be uncertain in our faith but be whole-hearted in our faith and to exercise our faith by heeding God’s voice and having the courage to let go of the branch and feel God’s power enfold you and bless you.

“If ye have faith like a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence unto yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing will be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20)

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