What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: cmr – No Kill I
Each of us, at some point in our lives, is dealt a catastrophic, surprising blow that drastically changes the future course of events. What is perhaps more important than how we react is how we have prepared ourselves to react.
To be sure, there are some things that come completely out of left field that we simply cannot prepare for. But regardless of the ideal of preparing for specific circumstances, we can always prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually for change. We do not know what lies ahead, but knowing that change does lie ahead, we can ready ourselves to confront it.
In the Book of Mormon, we read of Lehi and his family fleeing from a crumbling Jerusalem. Warned by the Lord to escape with little time and few supplies, they found themselves changing almost immediately from an affluent, comfortable lifestyle to the rough, transient lifestyle of nomads. Reading the reactions of the various family members, we can observe how some coped with the changes better than others.
Placed in a similar scenario, how would you react?
The idea is not all too far-fetched. While our luxury and prosperity seem at times to be guaranteed, our world can be turned upside down in minutes. Consider how fragile our nation’s supply distribution system is, or how quickly bank runs can occur, or how much havok a disaster can wreak. Consider further being told by a prophet of God to pack up two suitcases and head for the hills.
How would you react?
Three years ago, then-Elder Eyring spoke of the spiritual preparation that must occur in anticipation of future changes that we will be called to pass through:
However much faith to obey God we now have, we will need to strengthen it continually and keep it refreshed constantly. We can do that by deciding now to be more quick to obey and more determined to endure. Learning to start early and to be steady are the keys to spiritual preparation. Procrastination and inconsistency are its mortal enemies.
Let me suggest to you four settings in which to practice quick and steady obedience. One is the command to feast upon the word of God. A second is to pray always. A third is the commandment to be a full-tithe payer. And the fourth is to escape from sin and its terrible effects. Each takes faith to start and then to persevere. And all can strengthen your capacity to know and obey the Lord’s commands. (Henry B. Eyring, via Quoty)
Will our lack of preparation—both spiritual and otherwise—lead us to murmur, as did Nephi’s brothers? Or will we be able to adapt to whatever changes may coming, having faith that so long as we remain righteous, the Lord will guide us to safety?