I often think of the vision of the tree of life. Sometimes I have found myself away from the rod. Bumbling in the mists of darkness. The true danger is that once blinded I may not want to return. Doubt can be a poison that affects my spiritual reasoning so that I cannot see what is real.
This afternoon I listened to "Start Early and Be Steady" by Henry Eyring. He gave this talk in Oct 2005. I think about the changes that have happened in my life in the last five and a half years. I think about several individuals and families and how their lives are so different, for what I see towards the worse. I think about those that have remained healthy both spiritually and otherwise. What has made the difference? I do not know the hearts of others, but I do know mine.
Elder Eyring gave this talk several months after hurricane Katrina. Many were in the mindset of what they could do to be physically prepared. A few weeks ago, one of the most strong earthquakes ever recorded hit Japan. I understand that the Japanese were more prepared than most. Elder Eyring spoke of spiritual preparation:
That preparation must be started far in advance because it takes time. What we will need then can’t be bought. It can’t be borrowed. It doesn’t store well. And it has to have been used regularly and recently.So have I prepared? I guess I have somewhat. Perhaps the worst storms of my life have not yet come. What I do know is that I want to be prepared for whatever comes. Sister Clark on Sunday referred to this talk by Ronald Bartholomew. He quotes Elder Ballard,
What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation. It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends. That test is part of the purpose God had for us in the Creation.
So, the great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage. And the tragedy of life is to fail in that test and so fail to qualify to return in glory to our heavenly home.
some parents become so expert at filling every physical desire for their children that they begin to suppose that all is well in this life and that their eternal stewardship is progressing right on schedule. … I believe that we must pause and take a careful inventory to determine how well our families are doing spiritually. We could ask how well are we feeding, nurturing, training, and exercising the spirits of our children; or how well have we taught, trained, loved, and inspired our children to build their spiritual muscles and strength? … Remember, eternity is now, not a vague, distant future. We prepare each day, right now, for eternal life. If we are not preparing for eternal life, we are preparing for something else, perhaps something far less.I don't want less. I want what Abraham wanted,
And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers. (Abr 1:2)So what do I do to be prepared? I am not to trifle with sacred things, like my testimony. I won't consider it a mere experiment I am trying out, I am to hold it dear and nourish it by the good word of God. I am to add to my oil that cannot be bought or borrowed. By obedience to what the Holy Ghost has confirmed to me. I am to pray. With earnestness, with patience, with trust. I am to build up a hedge around my family and friends. I am to listen to the watchmen on the tower, the Seers. I am to rejoice in the promise and evidence of continuing revelation.
I will start early, and be steady. I have seen the blessings of those who have. I have seen the results of those who have not.