When my sister-in-law moved to California, having grown up in the Canadian prairies, her experience with sand was limited. After going to the beach with her young daughter, she called me and said: “Chels! The sand! When you stand in the sand and the tides come in, it all washes away!”
She went on to share with me how this experience helped her understand the counsel Helaman encouraged his sons Nephi and Lehi to remember: “it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).
A Changing World, Revelation, and a Sure Foundation
For years I have heard members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say, “I’m so glad the Church doesn’t change,” insinuating that the Church's strength came from its immovability. This contrasts with the ever-shifting values of a “wicked world.”
Yet, I have also been taught that one of the reasons we were indeed the true and living Church of Jesus Christ is due to ongoing revelation. Change! Grow! Receive! We can expand and evolve as needed.
President Russell M. Nelson clarified this concept when he declared: “We’re witnesses to a process of restoration. If you think the Church has been fully restored, you’re just seeing the beginning. There is much more to come. … Wait till next year. And then the next year. Eat your vitamin pills. Get your rest. It’s going to be exciting” (“Latter-day Saint Prophet, Wife, and Apostle Share Insights of Global Ministry,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org Newsroom, Oct. 30, 2018).
Exciting changes have occurred. And we await more. Yet one is left to ask, if the restored Church of Jesus Christ changes, what is it that stays constant and sure for us to hold on to when those inevitable waves come to beat us down?
When everything else seems to be sinking, like the sand under my sister-in-law’s feet, we have to remember who we should build our lives upon. Jesus Christ is the one we can trust when everything else is a scary, scary storm.
As the August 17-23, 2020 Come, Follow Me manual suggests, we should help our family understand, “How is Jesus Christ like ‘a sure foundation’ in our lives?” We earnestly need to recognize Him as “the rock of our Redeemer” and seek His ever-enduring and never-changing love.
COVID-19 Changed Nearly Everything
Our family, like many, had an experience this year when we felt like everything was washing away from under us. Because of COVID-19, the company my husband had worked for the past 14 years (of our 15 years of marriage), decided to make some big changes. I’ll never forget the look on his face as he came into our bedroom and explained to me that there was about a 98.9% chance that his job was over.
It was a devastating blow—a flash flood destroying the stability we had worked hard to create!
We had bought an older home and spent the previous year remodeling it to fit our large family. I had just had our seventh child, and the stress to provide for our ever-growing needs wasn’t going to diminish anytime soon.
That night I couldn’t sleep. After feeding the baby, I felt drawn to pull up the Self-reliance manuals in the Gospel Library app on my phone and read: “To Heavenly Father, all things, including looking for work, are spiritual. The Lord has said, ‘I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal’ (Doctrine and Covenants 29:34). Because getting a job is important both spiritually and temporally, everything you do in a job search can be an act of faith” (The Fundamentals: Job Search Principles, Skills, and Habits , 7).
I didn’t feel like I could control the decisions of my husband’s company, the economy, or a worldwide pandemic, but I knew how to have faith. And that thought filled me with hope.
We told the kids our situation the next morning at family scripture study. As we shared our concerns with them, I admitted what we needed, what we were praying for—were miracles!
“But it’s okay,” I added, “we believe in miracles.”
Over the next few weeks there was so much uncertainty, but I clung to the belief and trusted that my Savior had a plan for our family. I had no reason to believe things would work out, but I wrote in my journal: “I do have faith. Faith it will work out. That Ben and I know how to procure miracles. We know how to pull together in faith and sacrifice and hard work. We know how to repent and pray and trust the Lord. We might end up doing all that more intensely than we ever have before, because this might be one of the biggest miracles we’ve ever asked for before. I know we’ll be okay.”
Our future still isn’t all figured out. Miraculously, Ben was able to get a work visa for the United States, so his company could relocate him temporarily. Incredibly, the children and I were permitted through the US border, even though the rules were changing daily for travel because of continued corona virus concerns. We even found housing, several times, for our massive family. We have seen blessings big and small as we have exercised our faith and trusted in “the rock of our Redeemer” (Helaman 5:12). I am so grateful for the stability of our Savior when everything else has been anything but stable.
Listen for the Still Voice
If your world feels like it is crumbling, that everything you care about is being drug out to sea, and you just might drown, Helman 5 is a perfect place to turn. Like the people surrounding the crumbled prison, after they saw Nephi and Lehi “encircled about with a pillar of fire, and that it burned them not” you can let your “hearts … take courage” (Helaman 5:24).
When you feel “overshadowed with a cloud of darkness” (Helaman 5:28), and when things feel “immovable because of the fear” (Helaman 5:34), listen. Listen for the still but piercing voice that the multitude of 300 Lamanites heard when they were encircled by fire: “it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul” (Helaman 5:30)
As they listened carefully, they heard “a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying: ‘Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world’” (Helaman 5:46-47).
Christ is the foundation of this entire world, and He will be our personal foundation as well. Every time!
I know this to be true and bear you my witness that as I texted my husband that day when we thought our world was washing away:
“He’s got us.
He always has.
He always will.”
I testify to the truthfulness of these words in the name of Jesus Christ.