"I quit!"How many times have we heard that declared?
How many times have we been the declarers?
I personally have been guilty of telling my hubby those very words many times over the past month. Usually I am curled up in a ball with tears running the mascara down my face, so he just holds me, and I feel the laughter shaking his body, because really, who can take a mascara lined crying ball of frustration seriously? I can't even do it, and I am the one who is declaring surrender.
Ah, the irony.
While writing my message tonight, I have wanted to fling my computer across the room, curl up into said ball, and declare for the benefit of nobody that I quit, I just can't do it tonight, and you will all have to forgive me, and wait until next week for my pithy post. One can only have the computer erase the message so many times before giving up in defeat.
But I did not. Instead the words of Lehi came to my mind.
Cling to the iron rod.
It has become a Mormonism. You get it if you are Mormon, you don't get it if you are not.
But do you get it? Really?
A few years ago a friend and I were discussing 1 Nephi 8.
We realized Lehi speaks of three groups of people.
The first group of people saw the tree with the fruit. They wanted some. They were looking for the path that would take them to this glorious fruit. As they began on the path, they were engulfed by mists of darkness, and they wandered off and were lost. They had the desire to partake of the fruit, but really it was just too hard. So they
The next group did exactly what we have been told to do since primary. Cling to that rod of iron. They made it through those mists by clinging. They got to the tree, and eagerly and excitedly partook. And then they saw the people. The mocking voices and the scornful fingers pointing at them, and they cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed. Then they wandered off onto forbidden paths and were lost.
Once they reached their goal, they
Now my friends, I would like to invite you to move a step forward. Quit clinging to that rod. And yes, you read that right, I did tell you to
Because there was a third group who is often overlooked (why they are overlooked is beyond me as I believe they are the most important group from which we have to learn).
The third group found the rod of iron and they did press forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they made it. And they fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree, just as the other multitude did. But when they saw the fingers of scorn, the jeering eyes and the mocking sneers, they heeded them not. They knew if they heeded those voices, they too would fall away, so they stopped their ears and would not listen, thus being able to enjoy the dulcet flavor the fruit gave to their lives.
So why does holding fast to the rod of iron help so much more than wandering around without it, or clinging only in times of need? Nephi explained that it was the word of God, and by holding fast to it, we will never perish (spiritually) nor can the temptations or fiery darts of the adversary touch us. We will not be confused. We will not be lead away to destruction. That is a promise.
Even so, after they had made it, they still had to work. Partaking of the fruit was just the beginning. A huge help, but only the beginning. Just as baptism was the beginning for us. It does not mean we are saved, it is just the gate by which we enter to reach the kingdom of our Father. Endure to the end, my friend. That is the only way.
So even though things get rough, and you find yourself in the fetal position once again don't give up. Press forward with steadfastness continually holding to that rod. As you do, that wonderful fruit of which you partook at your baptism will buoy you up. Enduring to the end may be the hardest part, but I think it can also be the best part. We just have to have that iron rod continually in our hands, always pressing forward, always looking up, so we can have the eternal joys which are promised us.
Words to live by:
"Never say surrender, never say die
You only ever get there if you try
Never say give up, never say give in
You always have to fight to win."