Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Calm After the Storm

Some may have heard the adage "the calm before the storm," but what about the calm after the storm? One of my earlier posts discussed my recent stormy moment. It wasn't monstrous like some of the storms I have faced, but a storm nonetheless.

I have lately been reminded of a subject spoken of by one of my favorite religion professors, Michael Wilcox, who discusses the parable of the 4th watch. I remember the first time I heard this, and how much I felt like I had reached the 3rd watch a lot in my life, waiting, hoping, trying to have faith that things would be all right. I was happy when Brother Wilcox came out with a recording of one of my favorite talks The Fourth Watch: Receiving Divine Help When Your Prayers Seem Unanswered.

In the product description of his audio book, it says, "The wind was fierce, and the disciples of Jesus had long rowed against it before the Lord finally came to them, walking on the water in the fourth watch of the night-somewhere between 3:00 and 6:00 A.M. When our trials go on indefinitely, we should not assume that God does not hear our prayers, or that He does not care, or that we are unworthy. Perhaps we have not yet reached the "fourth watch." This comforting message increases our faith and patience, offers profound hope and solace, and explains how the Lord often works with us."

I was in the middle of the 3rd watch last time you heard from me. Pleading, praying,and doing what I could to live the way I needed to live to be a good Christian, I was often tired and exhausted. Giving up was not an option, but I felt I was doing what I needed to and that life was as good as it was going to get. Oh, how weak that thought was/is.

Over and over again, I have needed to learn that an unseen, insurmountable, happiness comes during the 4th watch. It has never failed me...and yet I doubt it every time. I forget that while the 4th watch moment may not last as long as I would like, it always comes...and I am always happier than I could ever imagine. 

I think I discussed this already, but it seems that my moments of 'happy' don't last as long as the moments of unhappy. I find this phenomenon everywhere, in movies, in the scriptures, everywhere. It has been a lifelong goal to find happiness in the journey, even if that journey is in the 2nd or 3rd watch - to find my happy during those times too.

The past several months, I felt I was doing a pretty good job. It wasn't until the beginning of this month that I can say I am truly happy...I reached the 4th watch....and you know what, it feels good. 

Is it worth it to hang on and find those little moments of happy, yes. Is it important to be obedient to a Father in Heaven who loves me and believe that it is through Jesus Christ that I can be truly happy, yes. Does it feel good to go from hope to knowledge, yes! Am I perfect at understanding this all the time, even through the little trials, no. But I am striving to be.

Happy feels so good. 

One Last Thought by Jeffrey R. Holland in the talk An High Priest of Good Things to Come:

" is not without a recognition of life’s tempests but fully and directly because of them that I testify of God’s love and the Savior’s power to calm the storm. Always remember in that biblical story that He was out there on the water also, that He faced the worst of it right along with the newest and youngest and most fearful. Only one who has fought against those ominous waves is justified in telling us—as well as the sea—to “be still.” 8 Only one who has taken the full brunt of such adversity could ever be justified in telling us in such times to “be of good cheer.” 9 Such counsel is not a jaunty pep talk about the power of positive thinking, though positive thinking is much needed in the world. No, Christ knows better than all others that the trials of life can be very deep and we are not shallow people if we struggle with them. But even as the Lord avoids sugary rhetoric, He rebukes faithlessness and He deplores pessimism. He expects us to believe!"

*Painting 1, Christ Walking on Water, by Julius von Klever
**Painting 2, They Hear My Voice, by Jeff Smith

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Simple Thought

This struck me today.

Simple Thought, by Barbara Bush

"At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent."