October 2, 2016
I wanted to share a message that I have thought about a little bit recently and maybe it will have a personal application to some of you, if not at least it will maybe be interesting. So recently we have been teaching a lot about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes I have found that missionaries and even members have a difficult time articulating what exactly the gospel does for you. Recently when I have talked about the gospel I have discussed two things that the gospel has helped me overcome. Those things are fear and regret. One of my favorite stories from the new testament is the calming of the tempest. I like it because it is so applicable to us. How many of us have been in a situation that seems hopeless or maybe even physically or spiritually dangerous? How often have we said to the Master, “Don't you care that I am struggling? Don't you care that I have this problem?” I myself have at least asked that a lot. Anyways from
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
Sometimes when I am in a situation that is stressful or even scary I react like the apostles did. I also see it all around me. People are so concerned about work, North Korea, elections, and all of these things that in the end are not important. They take their eyes off of the mark that is the only way to safety. Since the first man, there has always been fear in this world. One of the first emotions that Adam ever felt was that of fear. But the first emotion that he felt was faith. He trusted in his Father, he trusted in his God. That is our divine character, to trust in God.
I once received a blessing at a very stressful and difficult time in my life. I don't remember all of the words to the blessing. But one thing that I do remember that was said is that I was blessed to be brave. I didn't know the meaning of the blessing at that time but I think that I understand a little more. Bravery is not having blind faith. It is not acting without information. Nor is it an absence of fear. Bravery is an acknowledgment that fear is very real, but it is a refusal to allow oneself to be made a slave to it. It is choosing to act even when the consequences of doing so may be difficult. It is doing the right thing, even when you often have to stand alone. For me that has almost always been true; when the hardest trials come and when you face the most difficult things, most of the time you will have to face them without friends, without family, and without someone who truly understands your situation.
When those times do eventually come, I hope that you all are brave. I hope regardless of your stance on religion, God, or any of that I hope that you all choose to make the right choice, whenever and whatever that choice may be. We do not have to be controlled by our fears, nor do we have to be defined by them. I promise that as we exercise faith, bravery, or whatever word that you want to use to describe it, although we may stand alone for a time, we will never have the regret that comes from giving into our fears. I know that that is true and above all other things I pray that you may all be brave, faithful, and happy in whatever situation you may be in. In the words of the Savior,
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
I love you all, Elder Coleman