Sometimes people ask if I have trouble finding things to write about.
Are you kidding?
I wish I had the time to write everything that is pent up ready to burst like cracks spiderwebbing the concrete of a hydraulic dam.
I don't know about you, but I feel the pace of spiritual time quickening.
Hastening, as it were.
I feel the subtle goose-bumping of the Spirit blowing against the nape of my neck, giving me a real sense of urgency.
How do I put into words what I want to share in a way that is easily digestible?
How can my words echo those of Christ, like simple carbohydrates going straight into the blood stream?
(If you want fiber, read Isaiah.)
Time to Learn to Swim?
The purpose of this Series is to encourage everyone to learn to swim. I mean, you probably know how to swim already in the regulated waters of a backyard pool.
But how good of a swimmer are we in the open sea with waves raging? I recall Elder Groberg's description of being capsized in the ocean:
The waves became so big they flipped our small boat over, throwing the three of us into the raging, churning ocean. When I found myself in the middle of a tumultuous sea, I was surprised, scared, and a little upset.
"Missionaries aren’t supposed to swim.”
But swim I must if I wished to stay alive. Every time I complained I found myself underwater, so it didn’t take long to quit complaining.
I needed every ounce of energy to keep my head above water and make it to shore. Having earned my Eagle Scout Award, I was a pretty confident swimmer, but over time the wind and the waves began to sap my strength. I never quit trying, but there came a time when my muscles simply would move no more.
I had a prayer in my heart, but still I began to sink. As I was going down for what could have been the last time, the Lord infused into my mind and heart a deep feeling of love . . . [that] reached down and pulled me up—lifted me from the depths of darkness, despair, and death and brought me up to light and life and hope.
With a sudden burst of energy I made it to shore, where I found my shipmates.
(Excerpts from John H. Groberg, "The Power of God's Love," General Conference, October 2004.)
What Will We Do When the Ship Sinks?
Have we learned to hear the voice of the Lord and to follow the light of Christ that burns within each of us?
Or is it only necessary to "follow the Brethren?"
Pretend we're all on a big boat. Let's call this boat, say, the Titanic.
Now, if we heed the voices calling for us to "stay in the boat," then it doesn't matter if we have learned to swim because we've got a captain and a wonderful crew who is taking care of everything for us.
Why learn to swim when we have a mighty ship to protect us? When we are well-fed and comfortable in the carnal security of first-class accommodations?
As a passenger, we're content to eat the lobster and listen to the piano play, letting others steer the ship.
Why worry about where we're headed? That's their job.
(Don't you know that religion is a pleasure cruise? Because it promises us heaven if we just sit down in the pew, pay our dues, and enjoy the cruise. Just don't question the Skipper.)
Unfortunately, the scriptures foretell a calamity. The ship, you see, is going to hit a massive iceberg and sink.
So, today while the seas are relatively calm, why not learn to swim in the open ocean?
Why not learn to be spiritually self-reliant and to be guided by the Holy Spirit instead of letting the millstone of carnal security carry us to the bottom of the ocean?
Because my friends, there is an iceberg coming.
Someone might be saying, "But Tim! Didn't God prepare an Ark to safely lead Noah and his family through the storm?"
"And the Ark didn't sink, silly!"
"And isn't the Ark in the last days the Church?"
Well, that's a bummer, isn't it? What is the Ark that will carry us through the flood of fire, if not the Church?
I wrote the poem, Ark, to speak on several levels about this.
More water when there is nothing but water, the plunging sky’s generosity a mockery. Water seeping into upturned mouths exhaling vermilion promises.
There is no rainfall like that bestowed upon the open sea. Open faced we rise to the rainfall falling, flooding across the pores and grooves of our gopher wood skin.
Are shadows colorblind or merely appear so? What are these swelling phantoms elongating across the water day and night, night after day? It is all gray: gray ocean and gray sky, gray minds staring downward.
Our anchor is become a millstone.
They say, Are we kneaded from cloud or clay? Must we choose a piece, a part, or is glory birthed in the whole?
They say, Are cisterns filled with a taste of the sea or does all water partake of a single sisterhood?
They say, So long traveled and for what? Why not fashion phylacteries from the skins of these orphaned animals, for so are we?
I say, Beware the olive branch plucked from Babylon’s advancing shore where color fades.
Rainbows were not made for pupils such as ours, such as us, ineffectual prisms.