Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Anchor to the Soul


I left church after Sacrament meeting today, which is something I never do.  I wasn’t feeling well. So I drove home, took some medicine, and tried to get some rest, but of course, I couldn’t sleep. You would think someone who lives on about 3-4 hours of sleep a night would conk right out, but my mind wouldn’t shut off.

Plan B was to read my Scriptures in silence. A rarity at this hopping house. I read something magnificent. For my Book of Mormon reading I am in Ether 12. It is so packed that this is day three on the same chapter. I just keep finding more gems. Right now I am compiling a three column list on everything Ether has to say about faith, hope, and charity in just this one chapter.

The verse I want to focus on right now is verse four:

“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.”

If you’ve ever felt thrashed about by the storms of life, this verse should make you breathe a sigh of relief. For those of you who don’t know, I grew up on Staten Island. I sure miss that place sometimes. When I was a child riding the Staten Island Ferry, I would often go to one of the port holes and look into the churning sea. ferryAlthough I loved the feel of the air and water as it sprayed up at me, the voyage itself frightened me, so I would sit and watch hoping nothing would go wrong with our voyage.

I was always fascinated by the gigantic chains that would place and withdraw the anchors and wonder how they could help keep such a massive boat in place. I still don’t know the technicalities of all of it, but somehow it worked. Our boat was sure and steadfast.

According to the Scriptures, faith is our anchor. This anchor, however, does way more than the ones on the ferries I grew up with. First, it gives us a hopeful, secure future. Ether called it a better world. It is better because we are at the right hand of God.  At first that phrase puzzled me.  At the right hand of God? No, that is the Savior’s rightful place-definitely not mine. Maybe it was my tiredness, but I couldn’t figure out why he would say that. The answer of course was obvious, but it didn’t occur to me.

I leaned over and asked dear Bishop Nance (he was bishop before our current one), whom I was sitting beside. Thankfully he didn’t call me an idiot for not remembering “the sheep and the goats”. When the author says we will be at the right hand of God, it is because that is where the sheep go. We go with the group destined for eternal life in the presence of God. That will most assuredly be a better world. In that world there will be joy, peace, godliness, honesty, truth, learning, safety, and righteous judgment, just to name a few things.

Why use an anchor analogy for that though? I know some who would say we cannot be sure of our eternal place. I disagree. Faith makes that eternity sure. We can not only hope, but be sure in our hope of it. Not because of our own merits, which I know frightens all of us and makes us worry about eternity. But, on the merits of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I can be sure of my eternity IF my faith is in the right place. Do I have correct faith in the person and work of the Savior? Is it the kind of faith the Scriptures teach us? A repentant faith unto good works? Then if so, I can be sure of eternity. Now that is better than any anchor I have ever seen on a ferry.

This anchor does more though. Heavenly Father doesn’t throw us into a tempest filled sea, leaving us to drown and suffer, merely saying, “Well at least you have eternity to look forward to.” No. Instead He says, “Use your anchor.” That anchor of faith makes us sure and steadfast. That anchor of faith allows us to abound in good works. That anchor leads us to glorify God. I can’t think of anything better.

When I am drowning in a sea of turmoil. And believe me I know what turmoil feels like. I can grab onto my faith. That frees me up to do the work God has set apart for me. I am excited about that! I can think of a dozen ways I have disappointed my Father in the last 6 months, knowing that if I had just grabbed my anchor, I could have avoided the mistakes all together. I can’t change the past, but I sure can remember to grab it in the future.

It can also keep me steadfast in the face of other’s sins. There are frightening people in this world, who do very bad things and are obvious about it. There are others who are more cunning and unexpectedly do bad things. I’m not sure which is more dangerous. It probably doesn’t matter, because both kinds leave wounds and damage our vessel. But this verse says we can be sure and steadfast even in the face of damage. It will not matter what kind of storm we are confronted with. Faith will lead us to glorifying God. We can do great works, even in the face of suffering. What an anchor that is!

One other thing just occurred to me. It says this anchor can lead us to glorify God. I periodically get emails or phone calls from people who say wonderful things to me. Things I don’t deserve. Sometimes they say they admire me. Most often lately they say they have a strong feeling Heavenly Father has an important work for me. Now, I am not an important person and I am sure every assignment Heavenly Father gives, even to the least of His children is important to Him. It did get me to thinking though. I know He has a work for me. We were all given assignments in the pre-mortal existence of how we could further the kingdom during our tenure here. What was mine?

While I do not think I can do anything more important than any other servant, I have been facing tremendous trials that were obviously designed by the enemy to keep me from service. I began to pray and ask Heavenly Father to show me my work. What is my mission? He gently reminded me that He had already told me. He puts desires in our hearts and minds that are designed to help us know and fulfill our mission. What I want more than anything else is to start a magazine AND write books designed to help Latter Day Saints not only become more valiant in their testimony of the Savior, but to give them the tools to minister and teach the gospel to protestant evangelicals.

All I have to do is hold on to the anchor, so I am equipped for every good work and not allow the storms I face to overtake me.


Mama Rachel said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head! I know so many wonderful protestant evangelical Christians that I think the world, of, but I really don't know how to share the gospel with them.

Your story is such an inspiring one, and I know there's many people whose hearts it will touch. I wish you all the very best in your journey! {{{hugs}}}

Annmarie Worthington said...

Thanks Mama Rachel. I'm considering blogging through the chapters I'm putting together on the topic. That way LDS readers can dialogue with me regarding their questions.